I lived in Manchester for the best part of two decades so it was an astonishing experience to be transported by LoneLady right back to Hulme’s crumbling brutalist terraces and forward to the modern Northern powerhouse the city now is.
LoneLady – aka Julie Ann Campbell – has created a series of soundscapes that evoke images of the urban world combined with a definite post punk pop sensibility. She recorded her cracking new album Hinterland in her Hulme tower block bedroom, but live it really comes to life.
Campbell is a huge Joy Division fan so there are elements of their move to electronica in their later work in her ideas, and her deceptively funky guitar owes much to Gang of Four’s Andy King. She is no bedroom artist as there is a real bite to her live show complete with three blokes who throw in an array of beats and sounds that complete the package.
There are touches of early Madonna, before she became a parody of herself, in Cave, and a bit of ESG’s primitive funk punk on a locked down Groovy Town, but Campbell is no mere copyist as she filters that East Coast pop through a decidedly Northern sensibility.
Bunkerpop is absolutely epic as the band click into a groove that sends the local hippies off into an urban Woodstock groove. The title track of her second Warp album closes proceedings bringing every element of her sound together in six minutes of pure funky, punky pop.
I was a touch concerned that Campbell might flounder on stage, but her committed performance shows she has not only produced the album of the year so far but she can cut it live too.