As the Mancunian label Factory Records was one of my all-time favourites, besides every kind of Joy Division/New Order obsession, during my teenage years, along with seminal labels such as Postcard, Small Wonder, Fast Product, Les Disques Du Crepuscule, and obviously early Rough Trade and Creation, I have a natural penchant for the musical projects thriving around Clare, Australia denizen guitarist, vocalist and composer Caleb Carr (aka English Summer) and his affiliated musicians, namely Salford, UK‘s multi-instrumentalist Susan Anne Messner (The House of Silence) and Californian bassist and synth player Kris McAleese (Hi, Kate).
After a couple of singles at the very end of last year under the moniker Idle Communists, the international band renamed itself The Guild and has just dropped the debut single, “Sad City”, inspired by the early-mid 80s UK post-punk scene, from the heyday of Factory Records in particular.
The contemplative lyrics draw a “Sad City” landscape where distance, loneliness, and escapism emerge from the romantic dreams of a lost and wandering soul.
The group explore the angular, chiming as well as wistful and reflective guitar-laden side, awash in bright synth swathes, of Manchester’s imprint of bands such as New Order’s “Age of Consent” period, the Wake or The Distractions, with idiosyncratic and heartfelt flair.
Underpinned by a low elastic, murmuring bassline and lively drums, crispy and ruffly jangly guitar melodies, upon which stand glowing airy keyboard strings, meandering and sparkling with an urgent and stringent fervency around bittersweet baritone vocals, that long and croon in hopeless daydreams, to rove desperately and increasingly helpless through feelings of obsession, anger, and resentment.
While I was writing about the tune, The Guild have shared an interpretive official video that shifts mood and perception using emotional tones and abstractions, whilst perched upon a scenic overlook of the “Sad City” to emulate the mixed bag of feelings found in the bittersweet brooding and romantic longing of the lyrical soundtrack.
Keep up with The Guild: