Mancunian Candidate is the project name and album by drummer/vocalist Matthew Swindells and marks his return to the world of progressive, melodic and symphonic rock.
Swindells, who hails from Manchester, England, now resides in San Francisco. He served as drummer and vocalist in the highly acclaimed progressive rock band Moth Vellum. Matthew has also previously collaborated with Matt Bissonette singing lead vocals on the bassist’s 2004 release Raising Lazarus, which featured a Swindells original “Money in My Tea/In My Pockets.” He was live tour drummer for electronic music pioneers Fila Brazillia and drummed, strummed and screamed on Fila’s final opus Dix (2004).
On Mancunian Candidate Swindells lays down tight, punchy, explosive drumming that outlines the skeletal structure of the music. His vocal melodies soar in the tradition of Northern UK singers such as Eric Stewart, Jon Anderson, Sting, Francis Dunnery and Paul McCartney. Mellotrons, Moogs, organ and electronic sounds (also played by Swindells) deftly color the canvas.
Exceptional electric guitar performances by Matthew Charles Heulitt (Moetar, Narada Michael Walden Ziggabo Modeliste) and Johnny Heyes (Mica Paris, Tito Jackson, Errol Brown, Badbone & Co) are teeming with memorable riffs and sizzling solos.
The low-end is covered by a star-studded cast of bass players, with rumblings courtesy of Matt Bissonette (Elton John, David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani), Neil Fairclough (Queen & Adam Lambert), Jon Evans (Tori Amos, Sarah Mclauchlan), Ollie Collins (Black Rivers, Alan Parsons, Badly Drawn Boy) and long-time Swindells collaborator Andy Shepley. Mandolin is played by Jasper Wilkinson (I Am Your Autopilot).
Swindells’s lyrics reference current world affairs but were inspired by a collection of short stories from the turn of the 19th century plus writings by Noam Chomsky and George Orwell. The album wrestles with age-old issues of class division (Garden Party), abuse of power (Masque of the Red Death), consequences of unchecked corporatism (The Phoenix; Circle Lies Unbroken), the sham of organized religion and cultism (Secret of a Saint), and the perpetuation of war (Mongers Among Us; Too Much to Lose).
The music was expertly recorded and mixed by bay area engineer/ producer Dan Feiszli at What’s for lunch?studios and mastered by Michael Romanowski at coast mastering. Jasper Wilkinson, Jon Evans and Matt Boudreau also provided additional engineering.