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Exorcise Your Demons: False Advertising On The Communal Spirit Behind The Abrasive 'Brainfreeze'

Friday, 08 November 2019 Written by Huw Baines

Something that binds together those clustered on stage and those massed in front is the fact that music is an outlet: a mechanism to help us face or forget our problems. “It’s the equivalent of a punchbag,” is how False Advertising’s Jen Hingley puts it.

The Manchester trio’s new record, ‘Brainfreeze’, has a lot on its mind and isn’t shy about expressing it. The group’s abrasive alt-rock—think molasses-thick riffs, shoutalong hooks and thunderous drums—is a bona fide team effort, feeding off Hingley’s direct writing alongside pointed missives from bandmate Chris Warr. Interestingly, the pair also share duties when it comes to vocals, guitar and drums. 

Warr’s writing is big picture political, taking potshots at venal figureheads and societal imbalances, while Hingley focuses in on the messy details. Both rail against greed, selfishness and empty promises, but the scenery changes around them. “He exorcises his demons in a different way,” Hingley says.

Once ‘Brainfreeze’ is out in the world False Advertising will immediately head out on a UK tour, which runs between November 9 and 20. Their songs are made for mass consumption under low ceilings as sweat flies, and they have the potential to follow people home and stick around. Hingley, in particular, writes with disarming honesty. During the LP’s running time she snottily dismisses ulterior motives and shoddy advice, before winding up at So Long, where she addresses the death of her mother.

“Some people do react to it in a way that is like catharsis when we play live,” she says. “If the music can provide any sort of relatability, or if it can help anyone work through similar things we've been working through, that's awesome to us. We started from a place where we were doing it for ourselves but the second you put something out in the world it becomes everyone else's. Of course, that's what we're doing it for. We wouldn't have released it if that wasn't what we hoped would happen, I suppose.”

‘Brainfreeze’ was tracked at the Church in London’s Crouch End—home in the past to records by everyone from U2 to Beyoncé and Jay-Z—with engineer Luke Pickering, who works alongside the studio’s mega-producer owner Paul Epworth. They built the record during empty weekend hours, utilising the space to expand on the sounds they had been able to capture thus far as a DIY operation.

The record is slick without being sanitised, and songs like the opener Influenza and its immediate successor You Said are card-carrying ragers. The former doubles up its grimy riff as fuel for a drawled Hingley chorus, while the latter slowly unravels from spidery guitars and bassist Josh Sellers’ thudding low end into the LP’s best hook. To borrow a phrase, they exorcise their demons in different ways.

“We've been, until quite recently, totally DIY,” Hingley says. “We've always been recording things in rooms above pubs with no outboard gear and very meagre setups. We've always tried to do the best that we can with what we have, but we've also been aware of the restrictions when we've recorded in the past.

“We've not tried to present it in a way that's overly glossy and doesn't fit with the scrappy DIY-ness of the music. This, though, was really an opportunity to have more control over the sound and how things are sonically coming across. Obviously, that affected the writing as well.”

You Said, which was the first single cut from ‘Brainfreeze’, also had an important role to play in the record’s visual footprint. Its sleeve depicts a bottle rocket of Coca-Cola about to explode. Following suit, the album cover is dominated by an ice cream cone that has met a sticky end. Both tie together the ideas of self-indulgence that underpin Hingley and Warr’s writing.

“Chris's more political songs are about a self-indulgent press, or tyrannical leaders, someone acting out kind of greed who has a negative effect on people,” Hingley says. “And then all of my songs can be likened to that as well. It's kind of like, ‘Yeah, I'm behaving self-indulgently and seeing the effects it has on people’, or someone's being annoying to me. We realised that could be a thread. It pushed us towards the idea of something sweet being slowly destroyed by some sort of state change.”

False Advertising are a smart band—it takes some nous to make something exciting from these well-worn blueprints. On ‘Brainfreeze’ they have managed it in style. Everything around them might be decaying, but they appear to have a solid centre. 

‘Brainfreeze’ is out on November 8 through Alcopop! Records.

False Advertising Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat November 09 2019 - MANCHESTER Fairfield Social Club
Sun November 10 2019 - BIRMINGHAM Sunflower Lounge
Mon November 11 2019 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Head Of Steam
Tue November 12 2019 - LIVERPOOL Phase one
Wed November 13 2019 - LEEDS Key Club
Thu November 14 2019 - GLASGOW King Tuts
Sat November 16 2019 - CARDIFF Big Top
Sun November 17 2019 - BRISTOL Crofters Rights
Mon November 18 2019 - LONDON Black Heart
Tue November 19 2019 - BRIGHTON Prince Albert
Wed November 20 2019 - TUNBRIDGE WELLS Forum

Click here to compare & buy False Advertising Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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