In Review: Working Men's Club - Working Men's Club

Complex, nuanced, exhibiting influences from The Fall to The Human League, Working Men's Club's debut album lives up to the hype. And then some.
Posted: 8 October 2020 Words: Jim Howells

It might not be that bad being middle-aged. Maybe about 45 years old, a decent job, you kind of hate it but you’ve been there long enough to get away with a lot. You have a house on the outskirts of town, not London, but the outskirts of Bristol or Bournemouth. On a Friday night, your eldest will babysit your youngest, you leave them money for pizza. You put on a shirt and you get a cab to your friends house, which looks exactly the same as your house. You discuss supermarket reds on a kitchen island whilst your wife's friend's husband, Terry, removes something from an oven that you don’t have to bend down to get in. 

”Wow, how long did you cook that piece of meat for Terry? It’s literally falling off the bone!” You glide through the evening with a glazed look over your eyes, going through the motions once again and then, when you lay my head down to sleep, all you can think about is how wrecked you used to get and how good music was and now everything is shit.

This vivid glimpse of your (yes, your) future is pretty much what keeps the music industry alive. Bored and broken dads who hear something wonderful and have the money and the time to invest in it. When you get dads at the back of the gig you know that that band is hot-shit. Speaking of ‘hot-shit’, Working Men’s Club’s debut LP Working Men’s Club absolutely demands attention, interest, and cash from all the vanquished dads.

Hailed as the “GREATEST BAND ON EARTH” by the Fat White Family, Working Men's Club journey to this LP has been a long one, with a totally evolved sound compared to their earlier releases. What was once a good-but-scratchy guitar-band is now a good-and-suave, synth-guitar band. They have a nice, cool logo too.

Working Men's Club is an amalgamation of styles, it’s in a nearby (not next to) vicinity to New Order, Human League, and Heaven 17, but it's accented with suggestions of techno, hints of disco, and a faint implication of acid. All of this is served alongside a complex and nuanced glass of frontman bravado with notes of The Fall and Pulp and little, bitter Blur-taste at the back of the palette, which works. It all works. Really well.  

‘Valleys’ is an absolute solid throbber of an album opener and ‘Cook a Coffee’ makes excellent use of Working Men’s Club barbed-wit to address BBC host and Spectator chairman Andrew Neil over played-by-a-robot hi-hats. There’s also a song about John Cooper Clarke, called ‘John Cooper Clarke’ which is always nice.

The sound twists and turns and it goes on, making you “hmm”, “ahh” and “oh!” in harmonious realisation as Sidney Minsky-Sergeant’s modern-day musings are the necessary ballast, not only sonically, but in this hellish landscape we now call life. It’s obvious that it’s going to be good live. It’s going to be great. So maybe next time Terry invites you over, tell him to fuck off. Stick some Working Men’s Club on, and try to change the future you’re afraid of. God knows you need to. We all do.

Working Men's Club is out now on Heavenly Recordings

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