False Advertising – ‘Brainfreeze’

By Andy Joice

It’s not often bands form via open-mic nights, but that’s exactly how False Advertising got started. Both Jen Hingley and Chris Warr were heavily involved in the circuit in Manchester, often duetting together. With bassist Josh Sellers involved, the early version of False Advertising fell through after trying to “run before they could walk”. After recording solo material, Hingley sent the demos to Warr – who was working as a producer at the time – and, naturally, they started working on music together. The pair were reunited with Sellers shortly down the line, completing the lineup as before.

Since their grand unveiling in early 2015, False Advertising have released a full-length demo, an EP, and toured with the likes of Idles and The Amazons, as well as featuring at SXSW and Meltdown Festival – the festival curated by The Cure legend Robert Smith.

Opening Brainfreeze with single ‘Influenza’, it’s an early indication of the chemistry between each musician. Following a Pixies ‘quiet loud quiet’ style, gentler verses lead into screeching, electric choruses, resulting in a formula that resonates seamlessly, with a similarly sludgey sound from the early 90s sitting alongside modern production and gentle vocal harmonies.

While it’s not uncommon for musicians to be multi-instrumentalists, it’s unusual for band to swap roles and responsibilities track to track, particularly swapping drums for lead vocals and guitar. With both Hingley and Warr taking both roles throughout the album, there’s a dynamism from first track to last. Warr drums through the majority of the record, but also takes lead vocal and guitar duties on numerous tracks including ‘We’ve Heard This All Before’ and ‘Personal Gain’ – the former of which contains a grungy, catchy chorus with Warr and Hingley harmonising effortlessly.

If Warr focuses on the more politically charged, socially aware lyrics, Hingley deals in emotions. Both ‘You Said’ and ‘You Won’t Feel Love’ are laced with sardonic reflections on relationships, bitterness and anxiety. With one of the standout choruses throughout ‘Brainfreeze’, Hingley shows how strong her voice can be – while far less poppy, Hingley has the same ability and quality as Alanis Morissette, rising above intricate melodies so her voice becomes the defining element within the track.

The crowning achievement is closer ‘So Long’, a slow building, deeply personal Hingley led track. A cathartic reflection on the death of her mother, it’s both tender and gut-wrenching in equal measure. With the inclusion of a string section, it’s HIngley’s voice that really soars, showing the full extent of her vocal prowess. Emotions flow through the highs and lows of the track, reflecting the heartbreak described throughout. It truly is a wonderfully balladic end to the record.

While there’s an influx of alternative grunge pop, False Advertising stand amongst a select few pushing the boundaries. The dichotomy between their sludgy, almost mechanical sound and the variation between Hingley and Warr’s vocals creates a unique atmosphere that can only continue to get more pronounced.

ANDY JOICE

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