Stretford - "Crossing The Line" LP
Stretford - "Crossing The Line" LP

Stretford - "Crossing The Line" LP

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An overlooked missing piece of the 1990s ATX music discussion is Stretford.  Led by UK expat Carl Normal, the band made highly influential British tinged post-punk that influenced fans like Britt Daniel of Spoon.  Members of highly regarded bands such as Sincola, The Wannabes, and Ichi Ni San Shi also either started or joined Stretford during the bands lifespan.  

Released in 1995 on Unclean Records, Black vinyl.

'Are they punk or are they alternative? How do you describe the Austin-based band, STRETFORD? In this world of 30 sub-names for rock and roll, Stretford can best be described by the self-penned intro to their web page: horn injected, fasthardcatchypop music. That pretty much sums it up. Starting as a trio in 1991, the band currently has 7 members, including a horn section.

And yes, Carl (lead vocalist and leader of Stretford) really is British. That is not a fake accent, despite what some clueless critics might have said in the past. He hails from Stretford, England (hence the bands name) near Manchester. Lucky for us "yanks", Carl moved to the states to show us that rock and roll is not dead!' - Ear Candy Mag


"Austin’s Stretford has often been accused of affecting its time-honored Britpunk sound a tad too efficiently, right down to the “whoa-oh” harmonies and thickly accented vocals. But the truth is Stretford major domo Carl Normal is an actual ex-pat who was at it well before the Green Day-inspired renaissance. The men and women of Stretford (named for the English town of Normal’s birth) are unapologetically classicist drill-bit pop-punksters, with rolling horn charts and singularly frantic hooks that hearken back to Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers and the Saints. Preceded by a pair of modest 7-inchers, Crossing the Line suffers from typically muted no-budget sound quality but compensates with catchy songwriting. Stuttered riffs and simple bashing rub up against sweet vocals on songs like “Wonder Girl” and “Zerox Love” (not a mistake, just a trademark necessity), while Normal shows off more refined melodic flair on the balladic “Silhouette” and the swinging, horn-laden “I Used to Know.” Not earthshaking stuff, but it’s more than likable. The band that made the record no longer exists, but this is a good thing, as the new lineup — with Normal switching to guitar, a new bassist replacing him and a three-piece horn section where there was once a lone trumpeter — is far better, its freewheeling, almost sumptuous live shows offering the promise of more fully realized future recordings. Austin scene trivia: Stretford’s original horn player was eventual Sincola vocalist Rebecca Cannon, and one of the subsequent trumpeters was Jennings Crawford of the Wannabes."- Jason Cohen, Trouser Press