Radar Band Of The Week – No 19: The ABC Club

ABC Club
The ABC Club: The latest NME Breakthrough winners are putting swagger in their shuffle

There’s not really any kind of music scene in Halifax,” says The ABC Club’s Jordan Radcliffe of his band’s hometown. “We’ve got a big following here mainly ’cos we’re the only band that has broken through in Leeds and Manchester, into something bigger.

I think a lot of bands and people from here respect that.” The ABC Club’s guitarist and chief songwriter is not a boastful man; peppering his softly-spoken, northern drawl with awkward chuckles and self-deprecating asides it’s easy to imagine his time is mostly spent pontificating about what it all means rather than spitting Jägermeister into the mouths of groupies.


The ABC Club recently topped the public vote in NME Breakthrough’s latest wave of emerging acts. Aside from props in our online breaking music community, with support slots for Wild Beasts, Bombay Bicycle Club and Glasvegas under their belts, Radcliffe and bandmates David Barber, Zandra Klievens (vocals), Jack Haigh (bass) and James Burkitt (drums) certainly have less reason to be shuffling in the shadows.

Formed at the tender age of 15, with current sticksman James Burkitt joining the fold just over a year ago, the quintet deal in powdery pouting, angular guitar lines and sprightly hooks that set up camp in the hook-a-nano-second turf in-between Two Door Cinema Club and Jonquil. “It’s, er… alternative pop I suppose,” musters up Radcliffe after a bout of umms and errs.

“The bands we listen to the most don’t have that much of an impact on the music we play though, if that makes sense. Jack, for example, is really into Radiohead but we don’t sound anything like them, and I’m really into Bloc Party but we don’t really sound like that either.”


True, unlike many a bright-eyed indie-disco up’n’comer, they’re hardly a bunch of identikit Yorkes or Okerekes, but the former’s delicacy of touch and the latter’s way with a riff have certainly made their mark on the Halifax clan.

“What’s the dream? We’ve always wanted to support The Strokes. Play Glastonbury. Tour the world.” Lofty aims but, with the public on their side, it should hopefully be easy as, erm, err, 123…

Need To Know
• Jordan once got called “a cunt” by Embrace’s Mike Heaton in a Leeds club over musical differences the band had while recording with fellow Embrace-r Richard McNamara
• James once kissed a German girl on a night out, then in the morning discovered she was actually a man
• Singer Zandra is also regularly mistaken for a man


Words: Lisa Wright

This article originally appeared in the September 18 issue of NME

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