Love can hit you like a hammer, but in both a positive and negative fashion. It can knock you down and put you on your corner stool, in dreamland, for the duration of the encounter. But it can also sucker punch you when you least expect it and leave you dazed and confused.
That’s a roundabout way of explaining the subject matter of ‘Someone else’, the latest single from Copenhagen band Mansfield. Or to put it another way, to understand and appreciate love, you sometimes need to get your fingers burnt.
Not to put too fine a point on it, the ‘significant other’ just became another’s other, and the pain is tangible.
Mansfield’s first album ‘Star-Crossed Lovers’ drew inspiration from the Liverpool Merseybeat sound of the late 1950s and early 1960s (and they played last year at the Cavern Club) but if ‘Someone else’ is anything to go by it seems as if they have drifted 40 miles or so east along the M62, the A580 East Lancs Road, the Manchester Ship Canal or whatever other form of transport takes your fancy, to Manchester. (Don’t take the train though. It might have been the world’s first railway line but it behaves like it is still 1830. And I don’t mean half past six).
The style they’ve settled on here isn’t easy to pigeonhole exactly. It’s Manchester but not as we know it, Captain. The opening riff is so much out of the Oasis handbook that it’s branded ‘NG’ and you’ll wonder which wall you might find the notation to it on.
The influence of the Burnage boys continues to run deep throughout the opening bars but then a subtle change takes place and an element of 1960s Manchester sets in: one of trolley buses; the CIS building, the tallest in the country; the legendary Mr Smiths club in Brazil Street and the Twisted Wheel club for Northern Soul; the BBC’s Top of the Pops out of a suburban church; the docks with ocean going ships, 35 miles from the sea; Belle Vue Zoo and Amusement Park (Manchester’s version of Tivoli in Copenhagen).
I could go on but I don’t want to bore you. I’m neither the Tourist Board nor a historian.
I’m thinking along the lines of The Hollies, especially ‘The air that you breathe’, and possibly a bit of Herman’s Hermits as well, perhaps ‘Something is happening.’
You know I really do appreciate Mansfield writing, recording and performing songs like this and a part of the reason is that no-one here is doing it. Manchester’s music has been stalled for quite a few years now and just like The Beatles in Liverpool it is living on past glories; heritage bands that are now close to being in their dotage if they haven’t arrived there already. The Joe Bidens of music.
There is a yawning crevasse waiting to be filled and a guaranteed audience for it. Some people might point to bands like Blossoms and Everything Everything but they are harder rock bands while Elbow is different again.
Mansfield is capturing the spirit of a bygone but not forgotten sophisti-pop era from a city a thousand miles away by road from Manchester and I hope they’ll be back here before long to play these songs live for us.
In the meantime, they are playing shows in Copenhagen (17th February) and Hamburg (18th February) supporting Stoke on Trent indie band All the Young.
Find them on:
Music video filmed and produced by Andreas Valdemar.