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Nutopians – Civilisation

Civilisation is the third long player from Wearsiders Nutopians. If you missed our reviews for Rewind or What Does The Future Sound Like? then in all likelihood you missed two pretty decent albums, especially if you’re partial to a bit of 80s new wave/post punk. Father and son duo Ian and Phil Jackson honed their songcraft covering all manner of classic and alt rock numbers but their own compositions show their true colours. Namely a love for 80s alternative rock and pop.

Nutopians have craft. They also have hooks. ‘No More Blood’ is an instant earworm with ‘Senses Default’ following up to give the album some immediacy up front. Others are more reflective. That being said the listener is never far from a killer chorus. (See ‘Welcome to Berlin’) The Chameleons probably loom largest in a list of clear influences that likely also includes The Jam, Tears For Fears and early Talk Talk. ‘Searching For Celestia’, ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’and the title track all have distinctly Chameleonesque guitar patterns. Which is great. Nutopians are neither borrowing nor stealing from the much missed Manchester legends. Rather picking up the baton and running with it. Thank goodness someone still is.

There’s a celebratory vibe to Nutopians. No fey, shrinking violets these two. Phil (the junior of this line-up) takes over lead vocal duties on the sparkling ‘Sometimes All The Time’. It is one of several highlights here with its chiming, driving verses. I think it is this that gives Nutopians an edge versus other acts of this ilk. The music isn’t arch or clever, it is heartfelt and honest. Refreshingly so. They embrace anthems in a way few bands have since the time when Simple Minds and U2 went a bit stale and stadium rock got its bad name.

Nutopians aren’t trying to be cool. They’re trying to be good. They are succeeding at both, for my money.

For fans of Domino State, White Lies, Black Swan Lane.


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