Hard-to-find

Lung Buster

A couple or so years ago I found myself wading through the flotsam and jetsam of virtual music that lies like a nasty trip hazard on the Plain Or Pan doormat. All manner of Scandinavian thrash, whispering, sensitive acoustic troubadours, bedroom techno wizards, anarcho ska punk and identikit Oasis-lite tribute acts, heavy on attitude but not so much on actual songs were there, just waiting to trip me up. It’s great getting free music sent, but it’s even better when the music sent is exactly the kinda music you’d buy. One of the acts who escaped the recycle bin that day was WH Lung, a rather mysterious Manchester-based group of musicians who came out of the traps sounding like one of those mid 70s German bands that yer hip reviewers get themselves all in a lather over. Their track Inspiration ticked a lot of boxes and found its way onto here as a result.

WH LungInspiration

Played a gazillion times then filed away for future reference, I promptly lost sight of WH Lung and forgot all about them. Such is the way of things.

As if by magic, an email arrived last week heralding the return (for me) of the band. Headed ‘London Oslo Hackney‘, their press release was keen to point out the slow, considered, gestation period for their forthcoming album. Unlike other acts who receive a bit of favourable early press and rush-release their music as a result, WH Lung has taken the longer route, allowing the music to simmer and stew and flavour and ferment for the past 24 months. A tweak here, a re-touch there. The finished results are staggering.

Lead-off single (and free download, freeloaders!) Simpatico People continues the propulsive, linear, motoric groove that made such an impression back then.

10 minutes of whooshing synths and clean chiming guitars zooms past, the sound of Public Service Broadcasting going 15 rounds with LCD Soundsystem. When the vocals arrive, David Byrne and Reflektor-era Arcade Fire pops into the mix. This is proper joyous, hands-in-the-air celebratory music. The band may be out and about in the more intimate venues of the British Isles come May, but really, this is Saturday night on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury music.

The album that follows is just as forward-thinking, just as widescreen and just as good. When it escapes into the ether on 5th April, Incidental Music should by rights be a shoe-in as one of the albums of the year. Keyboard washes and sequenced synths conjure up Power, Corruption & Lies-era New Order. Guitars chime heavenwards. Tracks bleed into one another and the whole thing ebbs and flows and twists and turns. It’d make great cycling music. When the better weather comes in it’ll be soundtracking my gasping wheeze along the cycle-friendly routes of Ayrshire, that’s for sure. The beat is omni-present and relentless, perfect for pushing yourself to the limits. Extremely disciplined, there are no flash solos, no flourishes across the keys. It’s a heads-down and boogie album, no nonsense stuff from a band who are locked into one another’s groove. Classic stuff, in other words.

WH Lung are out and about in May;

11th May—Liverpool, The Shipping Forecast
13th May—Glasgow, The Garage (Attic Bar)
14th May—Nottingham, The Bodega
15th May—Brighton, Green Door Store
16th May—Bristol, The Louisiana
17th May—Southampton, Heartbreakers

The debut album – Incidental Music – follows on 5th April.

For what it’s worth, I reckon you’d like it a lot.

Hard-to-find

Milltown Brothers (And Sister)

Try googling Working Men’s Club. Go on. I’ll wait for you.

Chances are you didn’t land on the band of the same name, which is bad planning on their part because had you alighted on the northern English act you’d have been pleasantly surprised by what you’d hear. I imagine other acts will have equally Google-unfriendly names, but then I can’t name any as I haven’t found them yet(!) Thankfully, the good folk at Melodic Records in Manchester saw fit to point the band in my direction.

From the Calder Valley area, a belt of old industrial mill towns located somewhere between the white and red roses of Leeds and Manchester, Working Men’s Club are named after the clubs they once sneaked into as underage drinkers. Pleasingly, they’ve eschewed the normal Oasis-by-numbers rentarock that many young bands fall into.

Theirs is a twisted take on the angular scratches of post punk; a bit of Wire here, a stroppy Fall vocal there, a Gang Of Four thunk in the chorus…..bitter old cynics will easily trace the lineage from there to the Manics at their angriest or The Futureheads at their most obtuse, but taken at face value, Working Men’s Club are worth further investigation. My favourite album of last year came from Parquet Courts and a track like Bad Blood could sit happily in the grooves within that record.

 

Regular touring partners with the excellent Orielles, the next few months will see Working Men’s Club play a handful of shows across the Manchester area as guests of both Pip Blom and The Limananas, as well as striking out for headline shows of their own.

I’m keen to see if they make it further north and across the border into this fine and pleasant land. If and when they make it to Glasgow there’s a good chance I’ll be first in the queue for tickets and *down the front come showtime. I fully expect too that someone with a finger on the pulse of what’s a-happenin’ – a Marc Riley, perhaps – will afford them the opportunity of a session, so if they don’t fancy their chances of (cough) foreign travel in this era of pre-Brexit uncertainty, there’s a good chance I’ll get to hear them live, if not see them live.

*at the side, bobbing my head slightly whilst taking mental notes and hoping I don’t miss the last train home.