Manchester is back...back in black...

The new AA side from Autokat is further proof (if further proof be needed) that Manchester is experiencing a musical resurgence of late.

The city's musical populace is obviously not content to sit on their hands and bask in the glow of past glories. Of course it's impossible to forget that Manchester spawned Joy Division/New Order in the early 1980s and The Stone Roses/Happy Mondays/Oasis in the early 1990s - especially in light of Tony Wilson's recent and untimely death - but, in the words of Janet Jackson, "What have you done for me lately"? Not much.

Autokat are here to change all that. They've signed with local label Akoustik Anarchy (let's not worry about the state of the Northern educational system for now) and 'Innocence' is their new single - lifted from their debut album 'Late Night Shopping' (which always occurred on a Thursday night in my home town - unless you consider the nightly purchase of fags and booze from the local petrol station to be shopping) and twinned with new recording 'Short Circuit' creates this AA side release.

Brooding guitars, ethereal vocals and smacking basslines feature heavy on both tracks. 'Innocence' sounds like a stripped-down and insurgent Arcade Fire (which is rather refreshing given the pretentious musical pandemonium that THAT band usually churns out) and the economical lyrics - delivered as if it's Autokat's mantra - hang heavy too.

'Short Circuit' is a lumbering and more contemplative companion piece that tackles mental health and the real-life witness of an air-rage incident. Mixed far more bombastically than 'Innocence', it gradually creeps out from its murky and shadowy corner to explode in a rage of black light and feedback. All in all: pretty great.

Autokat have already been spotted by the likes of 6Music and XFM and, on the evidence of this release at least, it won't be long before Manchester adds them to its ever-growing list of illustrious musical talents. Autokat may not top the charts with their cynical and sinister brand of indie-pop, but that wouldn't be their fault - it would be the fault of the mindless idiots that keep buying Orson records.

Highly recommended.