30 YEARS ago The Milltown Brothers had the world at their feet.

Emerging from Colne in 1989, with the ‘Coming From The Mill EP’, the band were suddenly in the right place at the right time as Manchester turned into Madchester and the likes of the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets all stormed the charts.

Signing to A&M worldwide in 1990, their single Which Way Should I Jump? became a top 40 hit with expectations high for the band's debut album Slinky which Q magazine awarded a five star rating on its release on March 11 1991.

"We knew the anniversary was coming up but it's kind if sneaked up on us in the end," laughed the band's Matt Nelson, who along with brother Simon gave the group their name.

"We'd put out three singles before signing with A&M and then spent the summer of 1990 in Bath recording the album. It was a great experience - it's a nice city and it felt like it was sunny every day."

When Which Way Should I Jump? hit the charts at the beginning of 1991, expectations began to rise with the band's retro sound and fashionable bowl cuts suddenly finding favour with fans across the country.

"We'd been touring for three years and playing in half empty clubs and then we turned up at the Borderline in London and there was a queue around the block to get in," said Matt. "We were getting played on Radio One, people wanted to interview us and everything changed. It was such an exciting time.

"The whole Manchester thing felt like a double edged sword for us. We never really felt part of the scene despite being massive fans of the Roses and the Mondays, but we always felt a bit more influenced by American music like Bob Dylan and The Byrds.

"We certainly weren't as much into the dance side of things and had more in common with The La's, who we toured with, but it was hard to avoid the Manchester thing and guitar music was fashionable again so it did help us."

Despite their Manchester associations, the band nailed their colours to the mast with both their name and their determination to shout about their hometown and support of Burnley FC.

"We were a Lancashire band rather than a Manchester band," said Matt. "A lot of the London press thought we were being old fashioned and didn't know how to take it, but we were brothers from a mill town.

"We never really planned much. Steve Lamacq, who wrote for the NME at the time and went on to be a DJ on Radio One and Radio 6 Music, saw our third gig and gave is a great review and we were off and running without giving things too much thought.

"It was a great time. I remember one day we travelled down to London where we did the soundcheck at the Astoria and then went to record an appearance on the Wogan show and then went back to the Astoria which had sold out 2,000 tickets, played a gig, had an after show party, got up in the morning and got on a plane to America.

"Unfortunately just as we were getting used to it, it all finished, but we certainly made the most of it and had a good time."

America proved perceptive to the Milltown Brothers' classic sound and the band enjoyed their trips across the pond.

"We toured their twice," said Matt. "The first time we visited all the big cities like New York and Los Angeles and then we went back with the Wonder Stuff and toured for six weeks on a bus travelling around the whole country."

Slinky reached 27 in the charts, but subsequent singles failed to build on the album's potential, and amid protracted difficulties over the band's musical direction, follow up Valve was delayed until the summer of 1993, around the same time a certain band called Oasis supported them at Manchester Academy. They disbanded soon after, but a reformation 10 years later and two more albums, including last year's Stockholm, means the Milltown Brothers were still a going concern until the pandemic came along.

Matt said: "We're not prolific tourers anymore but we were eyeing up a few shows around the album release. Thankfully all five of us are back on civvy street so we're not dependent on the band for our way of life but it must be terrible for some musicians and bands who are because it has just wiped everything out for over a year.

"We do have a gig lined up for November when we're playing the Shiiine On weekender and then hopefully we can do some more touring next year.

"Those festivals are great - yes it's excuse to pretend you're in your teens or 20s again but what's wrong with that? Some great bands get back together to play them."

Matt, who lives in Barrowford, now runs his own company in Salford's Media City, doing TV production and visual effects, but the band remains a good excuse to get back together with his brother and their old friends and reminisce.

"I remember one gig when we played a festival in Boston on the same line up as Nirvana which was a great night," he added. "There was a good feeling back then and it was a great time to be young and in a band."