“You need to take your life in your hands, and piss on it. That’s what you do. Get beaten up more, make a fool out of yourself in public, and you become a good poet.” These are the strong beliefs of Jamie Lee, the lead vocalist in Manchester’s rock quartet MONEY. The band, who have been together for about three years, have come to a conclusion that MONEY is the name they should upfront as their own—well, that’s after they decided to ditch the names Youth, Books and Meke Menete.
With Jamie Lee as their secret poetic weapon, MONEY are following in the footsteps of many other great Manchester bands such as Joy Division and Manic Street Preachers. Yes, Joy Division had Ian Curtis, but MONEY have Jamie Lee, who—despite any affiliation to London—has led me to believe that he is a great Northern poet who captures the listener’s attention by spinning tales of old English poetry. With his fellow bandmates, Lee has created The Shadow of Heaven, a record that not only echoes through bedrooms, warehouses, and caves, but through any living space on earth—be it a heaven or otherwise.
The album will take you on a roller coaster of emotions: “Bluebell Fields” is a soft, psychedelic piece of music that finds Lee caught in a blissful headspace. “Letter to Yesterday,” one of the more poignant tracks, fills the album with nearly six minutes of gut-wrenching melodramatics. And finally, not to be outdone is the album’s feature piece, “Hold Me Forever,” which guides the listener through the pearly gates of Heaven. With lyrics like “It’s true I love everybody as it’s true I love no one” and “Heaven is real,” Jamie Lee truly brings out the Ian Curtis in himself.
Manchester has not produced a band like this in quite a while, so let us relish in this moment and hold them forever, as they truly one of a kind; a poetic band for a new dawn of time.