The Speed of Sound
Opium Eyes’ from ‘The Museum of Tomorrow’
Big Stir Records
Release: 24 September 2021
UK adrenaline-infused indie rockers The Speed Of Sound never sleep, back with a fervor to unveil the invigorating single ‘Opium Eyes’ from their Future-Retro-Modernist long-player ‘Museum of Tomorrow’. 32 years to the day when the band’s debut EP saw the light of day in 1989, they have just released this album on CD and Deluxe LP via California-based Big Stir Records.
“Opium Eyes reflects the glazed and distanced stare of someone evading the present and the future. Disengagement is the safest retreat for the alienated – from the poppy fields of Panta to Thomas de Quincy and on to Wild Palms and Dune, the escape to an artificial reality overtook the ‘real’ world in importance,” says frontman John Armstrong.
Hailing from Manchester, The Speed Of Sound’s music is optimistic, but with lyrical bite, a punk-inspired DIY ethos and lust for experimentation rooted in psychedelia. Formed in 1989 with a pre-history dating back to the day Andy Warhol died in 1987, The Speed of Sound lies deep below the ‘music industry radar’, allowing for the evolution of their own distinctive sound and live act.
The line-up has changed over the years and today consists of father and son John Armstrong (guitars and vocals) and Henry Armstrong (keyboards), Ann-Marie Crowley (vocals and guitar), Kevin Roache (bass guitar) and John Broadhurst (drums).
‘The Museum of Tomorrow’ is an exhilarating nonstop sensory indulgence. A low-altitude magic carpet ride at breakneck speed over the insanity of the early 21st century, drenched in Science-Fiction and retro-futurist infused imagery and themes. Despite some dark subject matter, the lyrics are playful and as bright as coloured vinyl. This is the Museum Of Tomorrow – not a mere time-capsule or bleak survey of dystopian protest themes, but an immersive experience. Drunk with richness it hurtles on, twisting its many turns with subtlety; exhibiting mood, style and pace variance. The trajectory is laid in and the thrusters fire.
Earlier, the band previewed the lead track ‘Tomorrow’s World’, highlighting how the entire 21st century was mis-sold – a cry of anguish and a re-statement of what should have been.
While The Speed of Sound has already released eight singles via Big Stir Records, ‘Museum of Tomorrow’ is an all-new experience, each song being single-worthy. Conceived as two seamless sides, the vinyl edition was mastered as two extended pieces – ‘Gallery One’ and ‘Gallery Two’. Korg synthesizer lines, reminiscent of classic Science Fiction incidental music, link the gapless songs.
This music has a definite 60’s influence but with an 80’s twist. With both female and male vocals, their sound is influenced by The Byrds, Small Faces, The Chords, Siouxsie & The Banshees and XTC. Merging the power of punk with floating harmonies, their sit tight between Sonic Youth and Dusty Springfield.
Released on September 17, the ‘Museum of Tomorrow’ LP is out now digitally, as well as on CD and limited-edition 170g heavy weight vinyl with a choice between black and glorious colour. Vinyl orders include a 16-page full-colour A5 printed Exhibition Guide containing lyrics, full-colour inner sleeve, a separate picture insert, a sticker, a pair of badges/buttons and a bookmark. Apart from platforms like Apple Music and Spotify, the LP can be ordered via Big Stir’s website.
Written by John Armstrong
John Armstrong – guitars and vocals
Ann-Marie Crowley – vocals and guitars
Kevin Roache – bass guitar
John Broadhurst – drums
Henry Armstrong – keyboards
Recorded at Vibratone Sound Studio, Manchester
Engineered by Adam Crossley and Chris Guest
Mixed By Adam Crossley, Chris Guest and The Speed Of Sound
Mastered by Adam Crossley and Chris Guest at Vibratone Sound Studio
Sleeve front / Artwork by Local Hotel Parking
01. Tomorrow’s World
02. Opium Eyes
04. Zombie Century
05. Wired And Tired
06. Virtual Reality (Part 2)
07. Shadow Factory
08. Impossible Past
09. Leaf Blower
10. Blood Sweat And Tears
12. The Day The Earth Caught Fire
13. Last Orders