Working Men's Club are this unholy brew, this broad, immersive elixir.
A group who came of age watching shows at the famed Trades Club in Hebden Bridge, they can move from afrobeat to indie pop to disco, and somehow it all makes sense.
The band's new album is out on October 2nd, a spectacular distillation of their influences, trailed by a bold, infectious, exceptionally daring 22 minute megamix.
Working Men's Club founder Sydney Minsky-Sargeant chats to Clash about the various strands of their audio DNA...
- - -
Neu! - 'Hallogallo'
When I first heard this tune I thought: what the fuck's this prog? Then I realised this was no prog this was KRAUTROCK, even better it was ex Kraftwerk members using guitars. Proper life-changing shit.
I could be any sort of high and enjoy this tune, I could be stone cold sober and feel high from listening to it. Hearing Neu for the first time proved to me that you make a really minimal piece of music still sound interesting after 10 minutes if the parts were brilliant.
I remember the first time I was in a studio with Ross Orton and he told us that if he had a favourite band it would be Neu!, in many respects I’d probably completely agree with him, I don’t think their music could ever bore me.
- - -
Kraftwerk - 'Autobahn'
If you thought a 10 minute Neu! tune was long then think on, I tend to stick ‘Autobahn’ on when I’m DJing and want to go for a shit, then buy a pint, then have a cigarette and then come back to the deck and continue to listen to the rest of the song and have a mid tempo dance normally alone (it’s 23 minutes long if you didn’t know).
The first Working Men’s Club album wouldn’t be the album it is without Kraftwerk and I think the same probably applies to a lot of albums post 1978. I think the thing that amazed me most about Kraftwerk is the fact they were so experimental and could write 23 minute long tunes but yet still wrote brilliant three minute pop songs, too.
I wouldn’t say they’re an underrated band because they did have huge commercial success but I think a lot of bands and modern pop stars owe a large amount of gratitude to Kraftwerk without even realising. This tune is like listening to a story told by the synthesizers, the lyrics surplus to the ever impending doom of the cascading darkness of the lingering oscillators.
Haunting yet fun, it’s almost like classical music in some segments. Who knows where we’d be without Kraftwerk... probably listening to Ed Sheehan in Berghain rather than Jeff Mills.
- - -
Cabaret Voltaire - 'Nag Nag Nag'
Following on from Neu! and Kraftwerk, another band that have probably influenced a lot of bands and artists without them even realising it (including myself Cabaret Voltaire were a band I only started listening to properly after writing and recording the first album, to the surprise of many people ha!).
I don’t think much else really needs to be said about this song or this band. Potentially one of the most innovative, underrated and influential British bands EVER full stop.
- - -
Suicide - 'Cheree'
Two of the coolest motherfuckers ever. Suicide are a band that changed my life and one that I essentially worshiped throughout my mid teens and still do to be fair as sad as it sounds.
'Cheree' for me is a love song without all the cringe. Timeless and brilliant.
- - -
Jonathan Richman - 'I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar'
I never properly got into Talking Heads I liked a few tunes here and there but for me Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers were far more interesting.
A large percentage of my childhood was soundtracked by Richman. I love how his songs are comical, simple and beautiful but still have groove, he’s one of the few artists out there that can make you laugh, cry, smile and dance.
I actually met him when I was about 11, I asked for a photo with him and he said he’d prefer I draw a picture of us both together and send it to him, however I just persisted for a photo and he politely accepted haha!
- - -
The Stone Roses - 'Shoot You Down'
As much as I constantly try to steer away from being associated with the Manchester music scene I can’t deny my love for this song and the first Stone Roses album, personally I think it’s a masterpiece and one of the best complete debut albums there is... guitar music done right.
Despite Ian Brown not being able to wear a mask in a global pandemic let alone hit a note right anymore, I think his voice was in my opinion the best and least annoying out of all the Manchester bands of that era.
One of the only bands I’ve seen live make fat sweaty middle aged hooligans ball their eyes out in a football stadium without watching any football. Brilliant...
However this live footage of John Squire covering Waterfall on his own is better than anything the Roses ever did haha!
- - -
Working Men's Club will release their new album on October 2nd.
Photo Credit: Andy Hicholson
Join us on the ad-free creative social network Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.