live review, thanks to Sounds Magazine:
One of the most exciting, long-lasting and innovative bands on the Manchester underground; The Speed of Sound open the night with a storming set. They begin with their signature tune “Shut All The Clubs”, lead single from their acclaimed 2016 album release “Everything Changes”, and a hit with listeners of Manchester and Salford’s numerous underground radio shows. With its lyrics’ biting attack on gentrification and the authorities’ shameless erosion of subcultural lifestyles, it is a real anthem for the culturally oppressed in this day and age. Lead singer and guitarist John Armstrong’s distinctive vocal delivery and guitar style get the music off to a swinging start, complimented by the infectious bass grooves of bassist Kevin Roache, percussion from co-vocalist Ann-Marie Crowley and drum rhythms from Anthony Edwards, standing in tonight for regular drummer Paul Worthington during his break from the band.
The band follow with a selection of tunes from the aforementioned album, Armstrong and Crowley swapping vocal duties between songs. Armstrong is a powerful frontman, his modest but lively showmanship and Bryan Ferry-esque vocal style guiding the band smoothly through a set that never becomes dull or repetitive. Their music shows distinctive traces of New York art rock and No Wave, often verging on the experimental and psychedelic while never losing its melody or infectious catchiness. Ann-Marie Crowley, herself an understated heroine of the Manchester underground with her previous role as lead singer of Poppycock, is an artist you just cannot help but respect, her vocals on songs such as “The Moment Is Now” at times evocative of Nico with traces of Chrissie Hynde, her stage presence modest and unassuming yet powerful in its very humbleness. This band is about great art and infectious avant-garde pop without the ego or posturing that often comes with bands obsessed with hitting the big time. The band’s sound is very strong on both new and old songs, as well as the two cover versions, of The Flirtations’ “Nothing But A Heartache” and their lively cover of The Primitives’ “Crash”. Their set is brought to a close by a striking performance of their 1989 song “Glide on By”. (full article link here)