REVIEW: Nutopians – Claustrophobia

Nutopians - Claustrophobia (New Age Music).
Nutopians - Claustrophobia (New Age Music).
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Nutopians are Wearside-based father-and-son duo Ian and Phil Jackson, and this is their latest EP.

The pair released their first album, What Does The Future Sound Like?, at the turn of this year, to much critical acclaim.

Ian is the guitarist in punk covers band 1977, but with Nutopians he plays alt-rock with a post-punk edge.

He and Phil write all the songs and play all the instruments themselves, and this three-song CD is the first taste of new material ahead of their second album, due out in early 2017.

Lead track Claustrophobia is a slow-paced, atmospheric number which features synths, lots of echo, and some guitar work reminiscent of The Edge in U2's early days.

The more up tempo A Life Worth Living is, for me, the best song here, largely for a guitar riff which will stay in your head for days.

Things are propelled along by drums which are nice and high in the mix, and this is the equal of any song on their first album.

The third track, the instrumental The Final Walk, is a demo version, and has a dense yet ethereal feel, in an Echo and The Bunnymen/Siouxsie and the Banshees sort of way.

If this three-song preview of their new work is representative of the direction in which they're heading, the next album promises to be a treat.

You can catch up with Nutopians at the Bird Inn, High Handenhold, Beamish, on Sunday, 1 January, or at The Stumble Inn in Sunderland on Saturday, 21 January.

This CD is available at their gigs, or via bandcamp.com

* Nutopians have also reached the final of the Soundwaves Music Competition, which has earned them a gig on the main stage at the O2 Academy in Newcastle on Saturday, 4 February.

Tickets, priced £6.50, are available from band members or Hot Rats record shops in Sunderland city centre.

They're up against 12 other bands to win a prize package including a recording session at the North East's top studio, and press and radio coverage.