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Mancunian Candidate

Crossover Prog

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Mancunian Candidate Mancunian Candidate album cover
3.29 | 6 ratings | 4 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Garden Party (2:36)
2. Secret Of A Saint (2:37)
3. The Water's Cold (3:53)
4. Listing Towards Starboard (Operation Bright Star) (3:10)
5. Anikusdominuscrappedonfactor (Operation Bright Star) (3:42)
6. Return To The Sun (Operation Bright Star) (3:12)
7. Circle Lies Unbroken (6:47)
8. Mongers Among Us (3:50)
9. Access Denied (Waltz 57) (2:48)
10. The Phoenix (Waltz 57) (4:53)
11. The Air Has Changed (Too Much to Lose) (5:59)
12. His Story Won't Be Told (Too Much to Lose) (3:55)
13. Fanfare For The Damned (Too Much to Lose) (4:27)
14. Leslie's Friends (Garden Party Reprise) (5:47)

Total Time 57:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Matthew Swindells / drums, voices, keyboards, acoustic guitars
- Matthew Charles Heulitt / guitars
- Johnny Heyes / guitars
- Andy Shepley / bass
- Neil Fairclough / bass
- Ollie Collins / bass
- Jon Evans / bass
- Matt Bissonette / bass
- Jasper Wilkinson / mandolin

Releases information

CD Matthew Swindells (2017)

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the addition
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MANCUNIAN CANDIDATE Mancunian Candidate ratings distribution

(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MANCUNIAN CANDIDATE Mancunian Candidate reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams
3 stars Another new world of melodic pop music. MANCUNIAN CANDIDATE were founded as a music commune by the frontman / drummer / vocalist / multi-instrumentalist Matthew SWINDELLS with such a massive intention to create progressive rock blended with pop / catchy attachment. I guess his musical background would have owed to 70s golden-standard pop / rock mainly, and he's created material sincerely with his motivation, regardless of current progressive worldly matters. Therefore their debut eponymous creation is filled with purely pop-atmospheric movements, not using cheap "so-called progressive (aka porg)" tricks or strategies. So-called progressive rock fans cannot accept such an unblended element I'm afraid, but let me say that his / their sound vision might be approved enough in contemporary pop / rock scene.

Their sound is not so complicated enough for the audience in progressive rock world but delightful and brilliant. It's quite mysterious even complex, multi-rhythmic vibes with Neo-symphonic keyboard-oriented hints like "Anikusdominuscrappedonfactor" can be accepted straightly (and this is one of my faves honest to say :P). Matthew's plain voices along easy-listening melody lines remind me also of alternative rock around 2000 and this should be one of the reasons why we, middle-aged rock fan, can be immersed in his / their soundscape. This creation features 14 not-too-long tracks flooded with enjoyable instrumental plays and comfort, both of which were moistened with his / their pure emotion, intention for rock. Not enough progressive essence nor complicated, mysterious sensation in this stuff but I do hope everyone can bring in a verdict of favour for Mancunians.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Mancunian Candidate is a clever play on words , referring to the classic movie Manchurian Candidate , a thriller of the highest order, the original 1962 film featuring Sinatra, Leigh, Harvey and Lansbury, the newer one in 2004 with Denzel, Meryl, Liev and Voight. Both are wildly entertaining. Matthew Swindells , a former citizen of Manchester, England was the former drummer of Moth Vellum, a succesful US prog band that later morphed onto Perfect Beings . The drummer/vocalist presents a 14 song set, more in the lighter poppier vein than complex overt prog, with mounds of synths and mellotron, with a huge list of guest guitarists and bassists. There are tonal influences that range from classic Genesis, Yes and KC , to Rush, the Police and 10cc.

The disc kicks off with three brief ditties ''Garden Party'' is the owner of an overt the Police coating, what with the slashing guitars, the loopy bass and the slick drumming. Matthew has a voice that scours the higher registers, much like Eric Stewart, Sting or Jon Anderson. Its brisk pace is refreshing and astute. ''Secret of a Saint'' maintains the loftier pitch, but slows down into a wistful swirl of pastoral emotion, a true showcase of Matthew's vocal abilities (love the way he rolls his Rs), and lyrically condemning organized religion and cultism . ''The Water's Cold'' has a choppier beat, with some crazy synth work that elevates the rhythm even higher, all serving as a brightly paced intro into the world of Mancunian Candidate.

The real gem here is ''Operation Bright Star'' a 10 minute , 3-part suite that incorporates modern sounds that may recall recent Steve Wilson, Neil Fairclogh's pungent bass pushing things along smartly. The instrumental section (''AnimusDominusscrappedonfactor'') is thick, complex and eccentric, a twisting, turning, veering and diving into breakneck speed folly that pleases the ear and the attached mind, while the serene third part leads to ponderous piano musings that soothe the soul and a wrenching vocal. There is a definite clever feel here, the 10cc influence being strong and heady.

The nearly 7 minute ''Circle Lies Unbroken'' has an unmistakable Mahavishnu Orchestra like intro, before the voice urges onward, a definite Rush feel and a severe critique of unruly corporatism, a condition that permeates modern society that seems to skirt the edges of disaster. The music is playful and imaginative, the coarse lyrics direct and unapologetic. A slashing guitar solo adds drama and urgency.

War is always a good prog-rock subject, and Matthew attacks the cleverly titled ''Mongers Among Us'' with aplomb, the choppy Summers-Sting-Copeland feel very obvious, with nice high-pitched Sting influenced vocals. The bass burps like some machine gone awry, but the gentle rhythm is attacked by a swirly air-raid siren that keeps the edge honed.

The piano-led ''The Phoenix'' has a highly crafted arrangement that skirts the outer edges of jazz fusion, with some cleverly played synth and guitar interfaces, a blending of simplicity and complexity that is quite an achievement. The mood is thick and yet airy, highlighted by some blistering notes from guitarist matthew Charles Heulitt.

The colossal three part ''Too Much to Lose'' is a nearly 14 minute suite that focuses once again on human conflict, a jangly, slashing intro that is heavily syncopated emitting a clear 10cc/the Police feel, but way more choppy and obscure. Swindells' vocals are the bets yet, mellotron waves pushing the groove forward as the Matt Bissonette bass carves nicely with Heulitt doing some amazing licks that pirouette a la Jan Akkerman (jazzier version). This is the highlight of the album, giving the progfan an earful of sounds to ponder and enjoy. This culminates into the more bombastic 'Fanfare for the Damned' section that has a more sombre and brooding sound, the most progressive piece here.

The final nail is hammered in with ''Leslie's Friends'', a quirky finale that sums up the album perfectly, a fine first opus that has plenty to offer, especially in terms of soloing and instrumental display, opening the door to future releases with a more concentrated focus on diversity and perhaps even looking at a darker tone that might push this into even more eventful compositions.

3.5 Manchester options

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A little while ago I heard from Matthew Swindells who asked if I would be interested in hearing his new project, Mancunian Candidate. I was immediately intrigued, as Matthew used to be drummer with Moth Vellum, and since the demise of that band the only person I had been in regular contact was Johannes Luley, both with his solo work and with Perfect Beings. I don't know what Matthew has been doing in the last ten plus years, but prior to his involvement with Moth Vellum he had performed and recorded with electronic music pioneers Fila Brazillia, and also collaborated with Matt Bissonette, singing lead vocals on the bassist's 2004 release 'Raising Lazarus', which featured a Swindells original 'Money in My Tea/In My Pockets.' Bissonette returns the favour this time, providing bass on three of the songs.

On the album Swindells provides all the drums, keyboards and vocals along with some acoustic guitar, and has used Matthew Charles Heulitt (Moetar, Narada Michael Walden Ziggabo Modeliste) and Johnny Heyes (Mica Paris, Tito Jackson, Errol Brown, Badbone & Co) on guitar, while bass is provided by Bissonette (Elton John, David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani), Neil Fairclough (Queen & Adam Lambert), Jon Evans (Tori Amos, Sarah Mclauchlan), Ollie Collins (Black Rivers, Alan Parsons, Badly Drawn Boy) and long-time Swindells collaborator Andy Shepley. Mandolin is played by Jasper Wilkinson (I Am Your Autopilot). So, a host of stellar collaborators, who all know exactly what they are doing, and this is then all brought together with great songs and vocals.

I hadn't realised prior to this that Matthew is a pom, I had always assumed he was American, but he is originally from Manchester, and that shines through in the music. It is quite poppy in some ways, and I can imagine The Hollies having had their part to play, combined then with the likes of XTC. It is at the heart a very English album, in terms of style and mannerisms, but with an American polish over the top, crossover prog at its very truest. The pop combines with the progressive complexity to leave the listener feeling refreshed and with a smile on their face. This isn't music that is complex and dense just of the sake of being so, but instead is carefully constructed and layered, so that it feels light and joyous. Some prog music, okay a lot of prog music, feels as if it has been put together in such a manner that the listener is supposed to be impressed with what is going on even if they don't enjoy and comprehend the actual music itself. No such problem here, this is all about simple complexity, and loads of fun. Let's hope that the return to the scene is such that Matthew releases another album in the near future, as this is something I have enjoyed immensely.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Mancunian Candidate is a new prog band in the scene but conducted and formed by a veteran of the scene, no one else then Matthew Swindells, also known from the excellent prog band Moth Vellum (sadly disbanded with only one album released).

What Mancunian Candidate offering on their debut self titled from 2017 is a nice combination of old school prog with pastoral passages, cinematic lanscapes, all done with taste, imagine you have Alan Parsons Project with Rush, 10CC, It Bites even Yes, with vocal arrangements remind me of Jon Anderson, Paul McCartney and even Sting. Swindells provides all the drums, keyboards and vocals with helping hand from Matt Bissonette and a handful of other guest that I parcticulary do not know well.

Even the synths and mellotron are present, the overall sound is towards popier fileds with nods to Steve Wilson here and there. Overall good album, but nothing more, 3 stars for sure. Fav trach, divided in smaller parts is the 10 min pieces Operation Bright Star.

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