Label: Heavenly Recordings
Released: 15th July 2022
From the humble valleys of West Yorkshire comes a formidable whirlwind of daunting despair. This is not exactly an unusual tone for Working Men’s Club, but it is expressed through a merciless new record with surprising and devastating potency – welcome to the onslaught of ‘Fear Fear’.
For those not yet acquainted, a first listen through this album could be a fraught experience, but an absorbing and entirely danceable journey awaits once you succumb to the will of songwriter and frontman Sydney Minsky-Sargeant. The thematic substance isn’t always made clear on the ten tracks, throughout which emotive sounds do most of the heavy lifting in terms of expressing the intended mood, but cutting words throughout deliberately offer a multitude of interpretations.
Starting with ’19’, this opener is a great example; a rugged, rumbling drone reinforces the permeating dread established on their first full-length while throttling layers of percussion and whiting electronics establish a new, daunting soundscape not to be missed. The band utilises a familiar sonic palette, it’s just evolved and improved with focused vigour.
A spasming instrumental marks an explosive and definitive title track worth waiting for, while singles like ‘Circumference’ offer euphoric fragments delivered with devastating sentiment: “a blissful circumference of a broken life,” Syd wallows over a sombre but uplifting electronic world.
While a lot of bleakness manifests, Syd also takes great pleasure in juxtaposing these harsh lyricisms with entirely upbeat melodies, offering refreshing glimmers of hope within the vibrant heart of ‘Fear Fear’. A warbling synth stands behind themes of death and despair on ‘Widow’; rare, gritty guitar work shines on ‘Cut’; ‘Ploys’ throws out sharp and light riffs that dance over deep baselines and jagged chords.
Winding down with an expansive, drawling closer, this highly-anticipated follow-up to Working Men’s Club’s sensational self-titled debut only raises the stakes as a worthy successor, upping the ante with an intimidating level of elation. This body of work is substantial and not to be ignored.