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It is a common artistic fall-back to draw on one's surroundings. This can be said especially for Manchester. If it weren't for a skyline of post-war council flats (le Corbousier's utopian dream turned nightmare), juxtaposed against its industrial Victorian structures, Joy Division would not have its monochromatic photoshoots and The Smiths would be one Salford Lads Club short. Though these days, Manchester lacks its mythical John Peel-wet-dream indie hit parade, ready to drain blood from the ears of unsuspecting Southerners. Once deemed unsightly, symbolically adverse to nature, the city's council flats and factories are now seen as preservation-worthy. These spaces at present have been reinterpreted as cafes and music venues. On the right side of post-industrialised Manchester, its comic book sci-fi buildings - the UMIST being one fine example - can be ah-ed at from the safety of a Tumblr page (that's what I do, anyway). Manchester is probably a nice place to live in now, unless you have to kip in some Bolton squat or something.

It is at this point in the Mancunian timeline, with all its horribly real and miserably poor bits being scraped off into disremembrance, that LoneLady (Julie Campbell) has released her second album, Hinterland. As you may well imagine, creating your own music at this part of its historical life is no easy personal burden. Music is not created in isolation - and her chosen space is already well loaded with cultural significance. This is one case where the artist in question does not forget it.

Some kind of preliminary to Manchester's psychogeography (you were waiting for me to casually drop this word in, weren't you?) was needed I think. But now I'll get onto the album at hand, and 'Into The Cave', the album's first track. Its dry basslines are so clean that they sound as if they had been recorded in an enclosed vacuum. This is clearly the work of someone who knows their music history - it quickly brings to mind the likes of '80s American 'no wave' acts like Pylon. Though beyond the stabilised pattering of drum machines, the track shows off Campbell's excellent sense for imaginative rhythms and percussive tones.

Let's just say I find it hard to be objective when I hear cellos on a song. So it's hard for me not to love the album's title track 'Hinterland' unconditionally. But even as I filter out the presence of this instrument's holy timbre in my mind, it's still the album's standout track. Campbell knows the importance of a good intro, with the kind of infectious bassline that'll keep you returning to this one. And what happens at the 1:40 mark can only be described as a noise solo; a surprising complement to the looped funk riff that drives the song.

'Groove It Out' continues the decidedly '80s aesthetic, with Julie Campbell's soulful vocals calling on the dark-yet-hopeful spirit of 'Sign O' The Times' era Prince. Just when you think that she can't go and write something to match the catchiness of 'Hinterland', she does it here again.

It is on '(I Can See) Landscapes' where Campbell most embraces her architectural inspirations. Here she almost frantically repeats the dimensions and boundaries of her environment, as topological abstractions with no name; they could mimic the sparse environs of her home, but equally that of any modern concrete jungle. Her reference to "interior chambers", with "functions... which appear to [her] now" will require you to fill in the imaginative gaps.

It is towards the end of the album that 'Flee!' provides a counterbalance to the relentless dance rhythms, and gives a space for Julie Campbell's soulful yet agitated voice to relax. Although acknowledging a necessity for a variation in tempo here, this does not seem to be her stylistic comfort zone. Neither an instrumental or pop song, it feels unsure of itself - so contrasting with the sheer confidence of musicianship on Hinterland.

The album closes on another conceptually loaded song, entitled 'Mortar Remembers You'. It provides with it the ideal ending, with its jangling, Smiths-esque cadence.

To say that this album is derivative of other Mancunian acts would be completely inappropriate. Instead, there is something purposefully, intentionally collectivist about Hinterland. LoneLady here does not seek to disassociate herself from Manchester's past, but rather, through it become part of the city which she has adopted for herself. What the album falls down on slightly is a lack of dynamics. Although standalone each song is catchy and refreshingly danceable, they don't add up towards a comprehensive album experience. There is little variation from the funk-punk, and slower tracks like 'Flee!' feel weaker to their more nervy counterparts.

That shouldn't make you overlook those songs like 'Hinterland', which is an excellent standalone pop song, or 'Groove It Out', though. In contrast to her debut, and to its namesake, Hinterland feels joyous, celebratory in places (especially on 'Groove It Out') and so only reflects a more relaxed, happy Manchester. One where people are free to explore, inquire, and take a tour of its heritage. It fits her with ease.

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