Working for a Nuclear Free City

Businessmen & Ghosts

We can say this now without the risk of cheesing off Tony Wilson (“Mr. Manchester”): Madchester wasn’t a true crystallization of the sound coming from Manchester, England. Oh sure, it was hedonistic, but it wasn’t dark and abandoned, and all sooty, crumbling brick. Businessmen & Ghosts, the U.S. version of Working for a Nuclear Free City’s self-titled debut, repackaged with a second disc of bonus material, is a gripping, eclectic commotion of rock and electronica that frequently hits that Manc bull’s-eye. “Troubled Son” is a factory din of guttural bass and clacking drums. “Pixelated Birds” opens all ashy and grim before the clouds in its gray vault crawl aside to let a ray of sunshine beam. And the title of the stygian “Dead Fingers Talking” hints at a Pro Tools genesis, but its Peter Hook-inspired, brooding bass line takes it beyond mere pointing and clicking. Other Manchester specters are conjured, but always refitted with new gossamer: Ian Brown in the blissfully burnished “Fallout” and Doves in the loose, venturous breakdowns of “The Tape.”