Artery are a band you might not have come across unless you were around the Sheffield scene in the late 70s/early 80s, or had your interest peaked by Made in Sheffield. They have a cult following, especially around Sheffield, and are set to release their first studio album since 1984 this month.
Forming in 1978, their music was very much a product of the social climate and economic depression at the time. With the election of The Thatcher government in 1979 leading to the collapse of traditional working class industries and manufacturing, they wrote menacing post punk songs with nightmarish dystopian visions. With society in its present state this seems an apt time for them to return.
The first thing to note about Civilisation is just how well produced it is. In fact, I would say that it is just too shiny and clean considering the material. I wanted more roughage. Musically it sounds closer to Second Coming, than their early work.
Beginning with ‘Standing Still’, which they released on the EP of the same name back in 2009, Civilisation continues where they left off. However, there is a disparity here between the upbeat music and the dystopian lyrics. ‘The Prediction’ takes you a step-down, with its overbearing feeling of doom and desolation. The first two songs set the theme for the album, with the music oscillating between the two sounds. There is much here to make Artery fans happy, with ‘Is It All For Real?’ and ‘Waiting in Subway’ being the highlights.
I can see Artery acolytes being pleased with this, but I’m not sure how many new fans it will get them. The subject matter, feel of the record, and Mark Goldthorpe’s vocals are very reminiscent of The Chapman Family. However, whilst the social tensions and economic strife of 2011 may be similar to their heyday, music has very much moved on.
Civilisation is released on 10th October on Twin Speed/Cherry Red Records