Man Without Country aren’t your typical electronic act or your average band. Not that they’re an electronic act or a regular band at all, not really. At a time when genre boundaries have become effectively meaningless, Ryan James and Tomas Greenhalf fuse electronic precision with a love of timeless melodies and James’ hypnotic, fragile vocals. By the time you work out how to label their new album Maximum Entropy, chances are you’ll have already fallen under their spell.
In one respect, Man Without Country are a traditional band: James and Greenhalf have the gang mentality of the best groups. Friends since meeting at Glamorgan University, they share a dry wit and eclectic passions. “We love bands like Blonde Redhead and The National,” says Greenhalf. “Electronic acts such as Trentemøller, Daniel Avery and Son Lux could also be considered an influence on the sound of the record.”
Since Foe, Man Without Country have developed into a formidable live force, having recently wowed Berlin Festival alongside Editors and Moderat. After supporting M83, they embarked on a lengthy US headline tour. “M83 made us realise touring is about performance, not just playing the songs,” James acknowledges. “You want to create different atmospheres within your show. It’s overwhelming, how much our music means to people. Fans would travel six hours to see us play in the US, when we’d never played there before. That’s so special.” He recalls a sixtysomething fan who came to a Newcastle gig, who converted his grandson into being a Man Without Country fan – and whose wife made an embroidery based on Foe’s artwork.
There’s no doubt that Maximum Entropy deserves to be recognised as a step up to see Man Without Country sit alongside their peers and potentially beyond. “We want to continue to develop and grow as musicians and songwriters,” explains Greenhalf.
Man Without Country have become men without limits.