Working Men's Club review

The West Yorkshire band take the stark electronics of the post-punk scene and warm them with Detroit techno and Italian house – while addressing Andrew Neil with mischievous one-liners

The Golden Lion pub in Todmorden gives locals the chance to meet and talk about the high number of UFO sightings in the isolated West Yorkshire town. It’s also the centre of a thriving music scene, where 18-year-old Sydney Minsky-Sargeant’s band have undergone lineup changes to evolve from a guitar band into a New Order-type rock-electronic hybrid.

Working Men’s Club: Working Men’s Club album art work
Working Men’s Club: Working Men’s Club album art work Photograph: Publicity image

Working Men’s Club’s outstanding self-titled debut brings a mixtape feel to songs, as various sounds and styles are hurled in with gleeful eclecticism. A well of early synthpop, from Daniel Miller’s proto-synth act the Normal to post-punk era Simple Minds, early Human League and Pulp, informs everything. Stark electronics are undercut with funkier elements of Detroit techno, acid house squiggles and Italian house pianos to create a danceable sound that’s simultaneously austere and uplifting.

Valleys hosts a rave in rural isolation; Outside is blissfully bittersweet pop; a song titled John Cooper Clarke eulogises the Bard of Salford with synth bleeps, melodious guitars and a pop chorus.

The various elements are glued together by Minsky-Sargeant’s striking vocals. He doesn’t so much sing the songs as impose a persona on them in the manner of Jarvis Cocker, Grace Jones or Mark E Smith. The latter would surely approve of Cook a Coffee, which addresses BBC host and Spectator chairman Andrew Neil with mischievous one-liners such as “Tune into the BBC and watch me … defecate”.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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