Release Date: Jan 6, 2014
Record label: !K7
Initially breaking through in late 2011 with melancholic single ‘Induction,’ Patterns could easily have pulled the trigger early on this debut album, especially after fellow Mancunians Money and Pins surged past them last year. Holding off’s served them well, though, and ‘Waking Lines’ is a success. Themes of late-night hallucinations and dreamlike states are achieved by combining sounds that hark back to Cocteau Twins with the more chillwave-y trans-Atlantic influences of, say, Youth Lagoon.
Patterns, a psych/shoegaze quartet based in Manchester, are heart-warmingly ambitious – their aim is to make music comparable to the art of Dali and Buñuel. Apparently, to get the full hallucinatory effect, it's necessary to see them live, where their drones and loops are synched to visuals created on old VHS equipment. On its own, though, the music is still head-turning.
It's the head-swirling rather than hip-twitching possibilities of pop that interest Manchester quartet Patterns, and their debut album muses woozily on sleep, memory and psychoanalysis. For all that, they are no more mind-bending than scores of recent shoegaze revivalists, and though lysergic melodies and chants broadcast their devotion to US trio Animal Collective, there's nothing here that matches the lurching unpredictability of that band. Patterns' qualities are more straightforward.
It’s been a long time since the internet hype machine went crazy for Manchester’s Patterns, but on balance that’s probably a good thing; keeping their heads down and working on their debut album in the interim has hopefully left them with a more durable record than might have otherwise been the case. However, though the quality of this album is unmistakeable, it has to be said that on closer inspection several out of the ten tracks have already been released. ‘Wrong Two Words’ and ‘Broken Trains’ both hail from their spine-tingling debut EP, while ‘Induction’ and shoegaze-pop masterpiece ‘Blood’ have both already come out on Melodic as 7’ singles.
A new wave of music is ready – or almost ready – to again throw a spotlight on the ever-productive epicentre of new music that is Manchester. One of the first acts to make their (expected) mark is dream-pop quartet Patterns, four Manchester University students (none of whom are actually from Manchester) that are currently dabbling in other projects as well as the band itself. Patterns are certainly not like the meat and potatoes, rough and ready backstreet sorts that are called to mind when certain Manchester bands are mentioned.
The North and Middle of our currently soggy, storm-prone country experienced a cultural resurgence last year, especially with acts like MONEY, Swim Deep and Peace shifting the spotlight back onto Birmingham and Manchester. It’s not like the region stopped producing exceptional sounds at any point, but the late ’80s/early ’90s halcyon years reached a peak that hadn’t been encroached upon in a long time. Then, out of nowhere, we had golden, gorgeous sounds pouring from the North like tea in Yorkshire.