Working Men’s Club – ‘Working Men’s Club’ review: pulsating rave anthems on attention-demanding debut

A world away from their early work, the Todmorden group find chaos in the every day on their superb debut

“Normally the first single is meant as the overview of the first album, but I don’t think that is going to be true for us. There is much more to Working Men’s Club,” Sydney Minsky-Sargeant told NME at the start of 2019. Debut single ‘Bad Blood’ had arrived – bruising and brilliant – but the post-punk edges that were flourishing were not wholly representative, he knew he wanted something different. And true to his word, the Yorkshire mob’s debut is a world away from that first impression.

Following a lineup overhaul (Minsky-Sargeant is the only remaining member from those early days) Working Men’s Club have switched out those moody guitars for chaotic synths, providing a more colourful, dynamic palette to pull from. The ten-tracks that make up their self-titled debut are all different, thankfully, but share the same brilliance.

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Opener ‘Valleys’ is a collision of euphoric rave and stomping claustrophobia as the band pit dreams against practical realities, while the ominous drum-machine led march of ‘A.A.A.A’ is quickly cut with a joyful lust for life. “Is this enough?” asks Minsky-Sargeant before spending the rest of the record seeing what else he can get away with. From the rebellious energy that dances across the album to the twelve-minute shape-shifting epic of ‘Angel’ that closes out the record with giddy excitement, Working Men’s Club don’t know how to be boring.

The chirpy power-pop optimism of ‘White Rooms and People’ finds strength in numbers, ‘Teeth’ is an industrial party anthem while the twitching ‘John Cooper Clarke’ soundtracks a post-existential crisis with Minksy-Sargeant singing “the luckiest man alive, one day will die,” over funk-infused instrumentals.

Cycling through the conflicting emotions that come from living in a society that’s set itself on fire, ‘Working Men’s Club’ is an attention-demanding debut that couldn’t have come at a better time. Hope, despair, destruction and the desire for new beginnings, their chaotic energy makes perfect sense in these strange times.

Details

  • Release date: October 2
  • Record label: Heavenly
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