The break up of a long term relationship is often traumatic but Easter wordsmith Tom Long has channelled all the tragedy, trauma and regret into the ten songs on their second album. The band also suffered a break up of sorts, as shortly after recording the album bassist Rich Clarke moved to Mexico, although rumours he was helping build a wall are untrue. He was quickly replaced by Joel Nicholson who also plays in Chew Magna and Butcher the Bar and can sometimes be found selling CDs in Vinyl Exchange in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Danny Saul who played guitar on their first album also once worked at Vinyl Exchange, so as far as I’m aware they are the only band from Manchester to have had two members work at that shop. When Danny left Rich’s older brother Gavin switched from bass to guitar. Now it looks as if drummer Andrew Cheetham could be on the way out, as he’s also drumming for Kiran Leonard and finding it hard to fit in both bands’ schedules. Losing Andrew would be a terrible blow, as he’s one of the best drummers in Manchester and plays with a fluid dexterity matched by few. I hope he decides to continue drumming for Easter, as he really makes the drums roll in a way few can. Easter’s first full length album is one of the three best I’ve heard from a Manchester band in 2018 and Easter are always great live. Enough of the soap opera, what about the songs? Tom Long is a wounded romantic poet and has some vocal and lyrical similarities with David Gedge of The Wedding Present, but Easter are a much more sonically interesting band. The first song “I Lost My Pen” is a regretful ode to the memory of a lost love, as are most of the others. Another reoccurring lyrical theme is clothes and here Tom “filled five bags of clothes for the homeless down the road.” The metaphor of clothes and changing clothes occurs frequently to denote life changes. Tom’s lyrics are nicely poetic but it’s his guitar playing that is really at the heart of what makes Easter great. An avowed Yo La Tengo fan, Tom shares with Ira Kaplan the capacity to wrench every emotive impulse from a wild guitar solo that sounds like the kind of thing Lou Reed would heartily approve of if he wasn’t dead. Maybe Neil Young would dig it if he gave it a listen in his hippy car on his way to feed cows grass. My favourite song is the album’s biggest rocker, the desperate “Suicide Kiss,” which was almost scrapped along with a few other songs. I seem to recall that my enthusiasm for that particular song convinced Tom to keep developing it as it almost got the chop. “Suicide Kiss” was released as a download single with a non-album companion “No End in Sight” which anyone who likes the album should download immediately from bandcamp as it’s certainly good enough to have been on the vinyl only album. The only problem with that is there isn’t a song weak enough to ditch in favour of it.
Easter play Gullivers on Oldham Street in Manchester on Thursday (25th October) with Paul Fleischman on drums. It’s seven quid to hear them and Omit Sleep and you can buy a ticket for that price (no rip off fees) from the bar at Gullivers.