Formal Sppeedwear set to put Stoke on the map with debut single Bunto from hotly anticipated EP

Stoke-on-Trent might not be the first place you’d look to find your favourite new band, but it absolutely should be. As fellow locals University and Christian Music start to garner attention from the rest of the UK, it’s time for Formal Sppeedwear to follow suit.

Formal Sppeedwear have been bubbling under the surface of the scene for a number of years now, the elusive outfit playing underground live shows and earning themselves a reputation for their conceptualisation and creativity.

Recently signed to Melodic, who describe the new wave trio as ‘the best thing to come out of Stoke since Robbie Williams’, Formal Sppeedwear have announced their hotly anticipated self-titled debut EP – and teased their ever-growing fanbase with its opening single, Bunto.

While many musicians will make the move to London and Manchester to find their path, Beck Clewlow (Bass, Vocals, Synthesisers) Charlie Ball (Guitar, synthesisers), and Connor Wells (Drums, Guitar, Synthesisers) stuck it out in Stoke, devoting their spare time to writing and experimenting, building their own studio out of charity shop finds and cash-converter synths and recording equipment. It really is the band that graft built, in that respect.

The band really are gearing up to put Staffordshire’s healthy DIY scene on the map, hoping it will, in turn, shine a light on even more brewing bands in the area. Formal Sppeedwear said: “There is no sense of geographical confinement here, there’s a wealth of talent who act indifferently to their surroundings. It’s particularly nice that some of our friends from here are starting to receive attention from elsewhere” 

With Bunto, Formal Sppeedwear has set the tone for what is to come on their forthcoming record, and it’s one that’s as nostalgic as it is futuristic. Beck Clewlow’s vocals soar with infectious energy, reminiscent of Talking Heads in their prime, weaving through layers of electronic wizardry and a rhythm section that hits like an 80s-era dancefloor anthem. But as with everything they do, Formal Sppeedwear has injected it with their own distinct brand of avant-garde experimentation with an effortless cool that’s impossible to ignore.

Jacob Swetmore

There’s a sense of urgency in the air fueled by Connor Wells’ dynamic drumming and Charlie Ball’s electrifying guitar work; yet amidst the chaos, there’s a palpable sense of melody and structure that keeps the track anchored and the listener glued to the speaker. This track is a masterclass in genre fusion and only fuels the kilns of excitement for what is to come on the EP. 

Speaking on the record, their label said: “Taking creative cues from Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies and Conny Plank’s experimental recording techniques to flesh out synthpop-oriented melodies, the EP stomps along with Scary Monsters-era Bowie guitar lines, early 80s Numan basslines and surreal lyrics – “Ready, set on my mark: Tesco Extra, Marks and Sparks” cries Clewlow on 6 Lofty Ash. There’s a versatility to the tracks; with the jolting staccato of The Line counter punched by EP closer and highlight A Dismount’s soaring synth slow burn.”

With Bunto, and no doubt their eagerly awaited EP, Formal Sppeedwear really are rewriting the rulebook on what it means to craft synth-driven melodies with their bold, boundary-pushing sound. To say they’re one of the most formidable bands coming out of the furnaces of Stoke-on-Trent would be an understatement – prolific advocators for the scene, unrivalled talent and boundless innovators, this record and EP release is going to be a cornerstone for the area’s music industry.

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