In December of 2010, whilst driving back to Manchester from a weekend of excess at ATP in Minehead, Pull Yourself Together Records were trying to get enough 3G connection on a phone to listen to what was about to become the first release on their new label. Now, 12 months on from Patterns’ New Noise EP, via Christopher Eatough’s heartbreaking debut album and Moustache of Insanity’s noisepop monster, PYT Records are celebrating their birthday in the only way they know, by releasing a single from a band they love.
Advances In Mathematics formed in Manchester when guitarist Ben Ambridge advertised for a band to play his post-rock-meets-dream-pop demos. Ben’s previous effort at making post-rock had ended in a flurry of “jazz drumming and bad singing” and in the meantime he’d become drummer for indie-pop sextet Help Stamp Out Loneliness.
Guitarist Iain Mitchell answered an advert posted on a message board in a guitar shop, a method that seems almost less antiquated than Adam Comstive’s recruitment via MySpace. Ben had promoted a number of gigs for the bass player’s former band, who he knew had recently split. Having carelessly misplaced a third (or maybe fourth) drummer late in 2009 the band ended up with former Billy Mahonie guitarist Hywell Dinsdale in the hotseat. The frenetic, creative style of his drumming quickly added the missing ingredient to the band’s pot, and the finally-settled 4-piece set about building a live reputation in their adopted city.
By this time the band’s name had been selected at random from a list of scientific journals, and their range of influences expanded to reflect not just the shoegaze, post-rock sound of the early rehearsals, but a tighter, melodically-driven indie edge and dynamic guitar progressions owing as much to folk and country as the immediate genre cornerstones of Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky. Support slots with the likes of Vessels, Nine Black Alps and A Sunny Day in Glasgow followed, with 2010 seeing Advances feature as the opening act of In The City, playing to a packed-out venue alongside the hotly-tipped Patterns.
The Sad Xmas Present EP is the result of a year of writing and recording, playing a limited number of shows while figuring out how best to capture their live sound from the confines of windowless rehearsal room. The limited edition physical release of the EP will be the epitome of a Sad Xmas Present, with each CD individually wrapped, hand stamped and numbered.
2. Sad Xmas Present
“Advances in Mathematics have the curious distinction of being the only post-rock band that I’ve ever heard an indiepop edge to.” – High Voltage
“A beautiful lament that manages to convey immense poignancy without needing words” – ManchesterMusic.co.uk
“ chiming instrumental indie-post-rock that’s as closely related to The Chameleons and I Like Trains as it is Mogwai…each tune simply flows beautifully, expanding and contracting, soaring and diving, crashing in a hail of drums and slipping away through the echoes of a delay pedal.” – ManchesterMusic.co.uk
FAQs about Advances in Mathematics
The ‘Sad Christmas Present’ in question is the Tremelo pedal Ben asked for 4 years ago. He got it, then felt like a bit of a loser. It features heavily in the song that carries its name.
The best excuse they’ve had for being late to a gig in 2011 has been “Sorry, I got drunk with my drums”.
The worst name they’ve given a new song, which was debuted at a gig in May 2011, was “It’s Ryan Giggs”. It seemed terribly clever at the time. The song has subsequently been renamed ‘Slow News Day’, thank God.
‘Border’ from the ‘Sad Xmas Present EP’ was the first song the band wrote as a 3 piece. It got the name because the chord progression means it borders on being a country song.