Big Stir Records cordially invites you to the September 17 opening and unveiling of the MUSEUM OF TOMORROW, in the form of the so-titled new album from Manchester, England's long-running beat combo THE SPEED OF SOUND. The record's elaborate vinyl, CD and digital editions are up for pre-order now at www.bigstirrecords.com, www.bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com, and streaming everywhere on the street date. The Museum consists of thirteen exhibits (or “songs”, as the ancients called them) lovingly assembled by our heroes, working under the Speed of Sound banner since 1987 and today comprised of John Armstrong (songwriting, guitars, vocals), Ann-Marie Crowley (vocals, guitars), Kevin Roache (bass, on board since 1990), John Broadhurst (drums) and the most recent addition Henry Armstrong (John's son) on keyboards. It showcases a musical collective whose drive and capacity for invention have only grown across the decades, and are thus ideally suited to guide us into the future.
The Museum Of Tomorrow opens in September and will never close. Unfurling their Future-Retro-Modernist flag, the genre-category-defying Manchester band plant it firmly atop their ambitiously realized (and fifth) full length album. Released precisely 32 years after their first EP was launched way back in 1989, this is their first full-length project to be shown in collaboration with Big Stir Records and it follows a string of eight songs released as singles with the Californian label... none of which appear here. Museum Of Tomorrow is an all new experience. Every one of the thirteen songs could have been selected as a single, but instead the pieces form an organically homogeneous collection, put forth and displayed together inside the institution after which it is named. This is an album made manifest by - and for - people who like albums.
Museum Of Tomorrow is an exhilarating, nonstop sensory indulgence, a low altitude magic carpet ride at breakneck speed over the detailed insanity of the early 21st century, drenched in science fiction and retro-futurist imagery and themes. Despite the darkness of some of the subject matter, the lyrics are playful and as bright as colored vinyl. No mere time-capsule or bleak survey of dystopian protest themes, this is a fully immersive experience. Drunk on its own 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. The listener is pulled headlong into what lies ahead.
From the opening line “We were offered Star Trek, but they fed us Soylent Green” - which is etched into the vinyl - science fiction abounds within the music, positioning The Now simultaneously in the Future and in the Past. We all exist on the edge of forever. Thus the album was conceived as two seamless sides, and with this in mind from the outset the vinyl LP was mastered as two complete extended pieces: Gallery One and Gallery Two. Korg synthesizer lines (reminiscent of classic sci-fi incidental music) and sound-collages link the gapless songs.
There are CD and vinyl versions available. The Deluxe LP edition of Museum Of Tomorrow is in 170g heavy weight vinyl, skillfully mastered specifically for vinyl purposes at Vibratone Sound Studio in Manchester and pressed in a split-issue of traditional black and also a very limited run in glorious color. Both the vinyl editions also include a sixteen page full-color printed and bound Exhibition Guide containing the lyrics, plus a full color inner sleeve, a separate picture insert, a sticker, a pair of badges/buttons, and yes, even a bookmark to easily find your favorite lyrics.
So, when leaving, remember to exit through the Big Stir Records gift shop and select your choice of souvenirs from the Museum Of Tomorrow. Your ears may be ringing from the guitars, drums, and impassioned vocals, and you will have felt the sting of the astute social commentary and barbed humor. But you'll want something to remind you of this journey through a “Zombie Century”... a “Shadow Factory”... a plane of “Virtual Reality” between an “Impossible Past” and “Tomorrow's World”. Or better yet, just flip the LP over and play it again. It all feels a bit cyclical, doesn't it? And we would be lost without THE SPEED OF SOUND as our guides. This future is theirs, and yours, for the asking.
Expected release: September 17, 2021