Armed with a pair of early 90s 3-D glasses, in unison the crowd gathered within The Deaf Institute duly positioned the paper spectacles upon their faces as Manchester inditronica quartet Patterns took to the stage. Patterns have an idiosyncratic manner to their live performances. The music that underpins them is extensive; passages of capricious synth ravels at their nucleus with towering guitar soundscapes colouring in typically Northern distortion and bursts of shaded Peter Hook fashioned bass. But their tireless allure is how it should be consumed. With Patterns it is always an experience.
Last year they acquired the talents of the Manchester Community Choir, padding the already expansive wall of sound to heights unprecedented at Salford’s St Philip’s Church. This time it was visuals. With the shadows of the four piece dancing ahead of the images – colourful reflections representing the band’s logo, galaxies of stars and Egyptian rafters – ‘Blood’ – waves of meandering electronics constructed themselves with reversed tonal elements to the manipulation of the vocals, the track is Patterns’ standalone blueprint for a single with a chorus that explodes into raptures of melancholia tinged choirs – entered. “Well this is a bit unnerving seeing you dressed like that,” followed from front-man Ciaran McAuley.
The illuminations continued uniformly; slowly hypnotising for the ardent followers who wore the eye-wear throughout. ‘Face Marks’ – McAuley’s reticent attraction a focal point as his vocal melodies rose against the contorted temper of the song, it was touched with elements of dejected Morrissey delivery – and ‘Our Ego’ – almost tribal in its choir like vocal fabrication, it was littered with cooled soundbites of synth that calmed the intensities of the track’s opening – were taken from the band’s debut ‘Waking Lines’ and cemented their core values of moody meets delicate pop.
With the images where the hub of interest lay, the sullen aura that Patterns’ sound evokes moved further within the shoegazing genre. Smashing, battering; Patterns movements only heightened the halluncinatory montage in front of them. The unamed new tracks, presummably set to feature on their follow-up album, were naturally hook heavy. Often Patterns pride themselves on obscurity, however with steroid using Badly Drawn Boy electric organ complimenting some infectious chorus motifs, Patterns are beginning to alter their tested savage formula. There’s hints of brash Phoneix Foundation guitar patterns that are quaking in their ability to move listeners to dance. It will be big.
‘Induction’ characterises Patterns. Burning distortion evolves within the guitar and bass as the collage of voices that welcome the chorus are resolutely beefed, it feels as dejected within its sentiments as it is enriching through its melodies.
Patterns are the city’s kings in terms of modification. They refuse to generically perform. Whatever comes next it promises to be as reality bitten as it is innovative. Here’s hoping the budget will be bigger. They have some seriously clever ideas.
Words by Clive K Hammond