King of the Mountains – Zoetrope
While the term is often deployed as a smokescreen when bickering bands part ways, genuine "musical differences" can be invigorating, yoking oppositional tastes and creating something original from the tensions. In the case of currently inactive Manchester act Working for a Nuclear Free City, the divergent interests of its core songwriting duo resulted in an ambitiously eclectic fusion, compared to which its members’ solo offerings can’t help but appear conservative.
First came Gary McClure’s acoustic-leaning, song-based Wreaths; now Phil Kay releases his debut under the guise of King of the Mountains, focusing squarely on the electronic side of the WFANFC coin. But narrowing the stylistic range has its benefits, furnishing Zoetrope with an impressive consistency and clarity. From endorphin-releasing opener Undone onwards, textured production creates an immersive ambience, whether serving minimalist pieces like Airstrips or the more assertive beats of Shinkansen. All in, Zoetrope is well worth taking for a spin. [Chris Buckle]