“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.
- Working Men’s Club live in Manchester: a livestreamed blast of unpredictable chaos from the rising band
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.
- Release date: October 2
- Record label: Heavenly