Snowblind / The Cardinals - Life Cafe - 26.6.02

With Oceansize and Nylon Pylon being signed up recently there's a real sense of "we can just make it if we try" on the Manchester Scene. And why not? The acoustic scene has shrunk back shy and retiring and now the stadia sized bands are slowly but surely making their way into the nation's consciousness. The Cardinals already have a history of supporting the likes of the Fall, Dum Dums and various other bands that have since passed...just give it six months and these guys will be throwing the biggest signing party that Manchester has ever seen. If you imagine the Roses cross-pollinated with contemporary Manchester ala Elbow with just a whiff of Coldplay about them you're halfway there. Add the deepest bass lines, swirling space-rock guitars and an arrogance that simply says - dismiss at your peril!!!

Snowblind, a band also steeped in Northern heritage with an ear for infectious pop hooks. They're also the second band I've seen this week (Damage were the other) that EMI are going to regret dropping from their roster in the post-Mariah cull - but what is EMI's loss is certainly going to be Independiente's gain with the stunning debut album "The Fall". Tonight's brief 30 minute set, essentially a run through half the album leaves us screaming out for more and leaving a little short changed. They do say less is more but to borrow a phrase off an eccentric friend of mine "one happy meal just ain't enough". "Easy Girl" with its Motown bass line, brass flourishes and a voice which takes us back to long summer evenings with St Etienne eases its way into the lush string drenched "Slowly". The laid back vibes of "Country" and "Summer In the Sun" almost leave us unprepared for the lost pop gem that is "Cut" and without prior warning the band exit stage right.

If we needed further proof that the North produces this country's real music treasures then the Cardinals and Snowblind just laid out the challenge.

Alex McCann

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