Living up north is rubbish. Essentially all we do is drink ale, fight and eat. It’s like A Taste of Honey, only in colour. Fortunately, we’ve managed to get connected to the internet up here in Manchester, so it’s not all bad. This exciting new advance means that we can send mail electronically, as well as listening to all the hottest new bands on myspace, like FICTION. Hailing from the city with streets of gold, they make the most wonderful, angular guitar based music. Whilst Fiction have the industrial gloom of Joy Division, there’s a lot more going on than simply nodding to Ian Curtis, and tracks like Tooth Fairy and Big Things (listen on the right) show them in all their yelping, jaunty glory, with carefully crafted choruses sitting atop a pile of jittery riffs. Energetic and chaotic live performances have garnered them rave reviews. With their gig at Dummy’s party coming up this Friday, the band crowded around a keyboard to answer my questions.
What can we expect? “Lots of nerves, tuning issues and a rush to the finish.“ On the music: “People seem to like it” is a typically laid back response. They also claim that recent attention from Artrocker and BBC Introducing’s Tom Robinson is “just great”. Much has been made of the band’s rhythm section, as they’re minus a drummer. “Basically we don’t have a conventional drummer – couldn’t catch a good one. Too often in bands the rhythm is demoted to a background instrument; in a sense we give it a lead role.” Having moved on from “an ill-fated drum machine era”, all of the band on occasion take part in the drumming but it’s usually left to James Howard and Mike Barrett who alternate the role with lead vocals and their own instruments (keyboard and guitar respectively). Mike’s brother Nick is responsible for their unconventional fretboard work and Dan Djan backs it all up with his thudding bass.
Despite their dark, brooding sound being at least 8 times more interesting than anything White Lies have ever thought of, they’re miraculously without major backing. Though the major labels aren’t exactly flush with money, it’s only got to be a matter of time before someone snaps them up. Not that the band care too much: “We’re not worrying much about getting signed any time soon; our priority at the moment is to get enough stuff together for a second album before we’ve made our first.” The exciting thing is that all their work so far already sounds like that of an established act – and a bloody good one at that. With compact discs finally getting their release at selected Our Prices in Manchester this coming January, will there be a FICTION album gracing my discman in 2010? “We’ll try.” For my sake, we can only hope.