The Lottery Winners

Saturday 15/04/2023
  • The Lottery Winners
  • Date: Saturday 15/04/2023
  • Time: 7.00pm
  • Price: £16.50/£18
  • Age Restrictions: 18+
  • Venue: Clwb Ifor Bach

Born in Salford and raised on romance, The Lottery Winners can be found pottering somewhere in-between the blithe of the Beach Boys and the suffering of the Smiths.

Formed in 2008 in Leigh, Greater Manchester, this buoyant indie pop quartet are inspired by the carefree and playful aspects of both pre- and post-Brit-pop-era chart sounds. The Lottery Winners came together primarily over their shared love of the Smiths, and this was the act to which Sire Records boss Seymour Stein compared them when he signed the band in 2016. Protracted discussions lead to a lengthy delay between the recording of their self-titled debut album and its release, but it finally saw the light of day on Dave Pichilingi’s Modern Sky label in March 2020, reaching the Top 30 of the U.K. album chart. A covers album, Sounds of Isolation, kept their star in the ascent and was followed by 2021’s Something to Leave the House For.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Thom Rylance grew up listening to ’80s bands such as Aztec Camera and Orange Juice, but he felt a primary affinity with inherently gloomier acts like the Cure and Joy Division. He met fellow guitarist Rob Lally at Bedford High School, and they soon joined up with bass player Katie Lloyd. Their first drummer, Alex Langford-Taylor, was eventually replaced by their close friend Joe Singleton — a student of Lowton CE High school — following a meeting in the local Collier’s Rest Pub. It was this venue that played host to their reputedly oversubscribed debut gig packed with friends and others who had sampled their online uploads. With its chiming guitars and bittersweet lyrics, the band’s early material — such as the 2013 recording of “Pillows” for an online streaming channel and the Lottery Winners’ debut single “Elizabeth” — most clearly displayed a love of Morrissey and Johnny Marr. However, as the band’s career progressed, this element was increasingly obscured as they leaned closer to a ’90s chart-oriented indie sound that recalled acts such as Space and the Supernaturals.

April 2013’s blink-and-you-missed-it, self-pressed Somebody Loved You EP was swiftly followed by their first proper festival appearance at Stratford Olympic City’s Hard Rock Calling. October 2015’s “I Know” was eventually coupled with “Young Love” the following year for a double A-side vinyl release and issued around the same time as another self-released EP, The Meaning of Life. That summer, Stein approached the band with a record deal after a performance in Liverpool and, as a result, subsequent interviews tended to reference a forthcoming album that, unbeknownst to all, would not appear for another five years.

In fact, the Lottery Winners’ next single, “That’s Not Entertainment” — a quirky critique of modern pop culture — arrived in 2018 on the indie label Young Lovers Club. In 2019, after taking back control of their album recordings, the group signed with the Liverpool Sound City-affiliated Modern Sky U.K. This led to their debut Glastonbury Festival performance and a run of arena dates in support of Tom Jones that found them playing to around 15,000 people per night. They issued four more infectious pop singles — including “21” and “Little Things” — prior to the March 2020 release of their Tristan Ivemy-produced debut album. This charting LP coincided with the initial COVID-19-related lockdowns which, in turn, led to the postponement of a planned U.K. headline tour. In its place, the band began a three-month period of close contact with their fans on social media, performing covers, hosting quizzes, and interviewing guests. The resulting Sounds of Isolation, released that summer, contained covers of material originally made famous by acts as diverse as the Smiths, Dolly Parton, Vera Lynn, and Rick Astley.