Introducing: Manuela

ManuelaEarlier this month, Franz Ferdinand announced the departure of rhythm guitarist and songwriter Nick McCarthy from the line up. The band, who formed in 2002, are preparing to get underway with recording their next album, but McCarthy won’t be joining them (at least, not right now). Instead, he’s taking some time to concentrate on his family and new London-based project Manuela.

The band’s name is taken from McCarthy’s wife, Manuela Gernedel, who fronts the DIY pop duo. This isn’t the first time McCarthy and Gernedel have worked together – the couple are also in experimental pop band Box Codax with long-term friend Alexander Ragnew and have released two albums so far: Only An Orchard Away in 2006, and Hellabuster in 2011.

Gernedel and McCarthy continue to complement each other musically as Manuela (defying all those rules of never bringing work home with you), with their first track “Cracks in the Concrete” demonstrating a continued interest in the slightly surreal. Jaunty jangling guitar lines and space-out synths play out over samba-like bongos and there’s a disruptively long pause in the middle of the song. It is, quite frankly, a bit weird, but then that’s what you would expect from the duo partially responsible for a song about chocolate pudding (which you should definitely listen to if you’re a fan of Metronomy). Don’t forget McCarthy was also behind the songwriting for much of Franz Ferdinand’s catalogue – a band who turned weird into millions of record sales.

Recorded in McCarthy’s Sausage In Hackney studio and co-produced by Sebastian Kellig, “Cracks in the Concrete” is an encouraging taste of the new direction McCarthy hopes to be going in, having previously stated that he is “going to concentrate on production and writing some completely different things for a bit” while he takes a break from Franz Ferdinand.

Gernedel and McCarthy have also teamed up with a host of other artists for the album, which will be released via Lost Map Records and is currently being finalised. Notable names include Jim Dixon (Django Django), William Reese (Mystery Jets), Roxanne Clifford (Veronica Falls) and Paul Thomson (Franz Ferdinand).

Listen to “Cracks in the Concrete” below and find out more about Manuela here.

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