Music and political activism have gone hand in hand for generations. There’s been folk songs heralding the exploits of Robin Hood, gritty songs denouncing the sad hard lives of the poor and the exploited, and lyrics that expose and embarrass the ruling classes. The message of protest has more impact when sung from the rooftops. To my ear, it’s always refreshing to hear a tune which follows the radical tradition.
With Burn The Heather, The Lounge Society use their much anticipated second single to beam a spotlight onto a number of injustices. In this case, the video in particular highlights a local problem on the hills above Hebden and Tod in West Yorkshire; using rural moorland for the very upper class pursuit of Grouse Shooting. After their first track Generation Game provided a biting commentary on the modern world, I was guessing there was going to be no gentle lyrics of love affairs for song #2.
While the rich enjoy the ‘sport’ of shooting living animals to bits, and under cover of the innocent term “land management”, the landscape is relentlessly tamed for the birds, so the grouse can thrive. Not least, the burning of the heather for the benefit of more grouse friendly vegetation, leads to poorer soil conditions, pollution, fewer plant varieties, and the death of many of the creatures that call the Yorkshire Moors home.
Richard Bannister majority shareholder of Boundary Mills (and distant relative of the magistrate who convicted some of the Pendle Witches; also a tale of privilege and power) owns and leases much of the moorland in the area, and has been subject to action by Extinction Rebellion and Hebden Bridge’s Ban The Burn.
The video for Burn The Heather sees the Lounge Society lads dressed in orange-red boilersuits US jail style, enjoying a yomp across the moors while the wasteful, disgusting, tweedy, wellie wearing hunters salivate at the thought of shooting them down. The video is classic good v evil and is an engaging non too heavy film that draws out the tune and the message very well.
The Lounge Society track Burn the Heather itself (whew, you just knew I’d get to write about the actual song eventually) is a complete post punk dream with a high octane funky, groovy beat and the clipped deep vocals of Cameron Davey setting it off perfectly. There’s a really tidy mix of pace on this total vibe too. If you like music, you will love The Lounge Society. Simple As.
When I saw The Lounge Society at the mighty Parish in Huddersfield at the beginning of the year, I was totally absorbed by how the guys were so into their music, and how good they sounded, that I raced off and ordered their first release vinyl limited edition single. I’d be so up for a vinyl Burn The Heather, but meantime I’m completely stoked to have a ticket to see the guys next May (hopefully we will have the old rona licked by then, or we will have all had it, or we will be so fked off we don’t care any more). I’m catching them in the majestic setting of The Castle in Manchester on 21 May, although I was seriously thinking of the Trades beneath those grouse friendly hills in Hebden on 2 July. May will see the band play in a variety of venues from Margate to Edinburgh. Go get em Floyd.
* Images have been taken from the band’s social media