Working Men’s Club seem to have chosen to showcase their second album with the most detailed and challenging track of the latest album collection; the title track of Fear Fear. Perhaps that is unsurprising given Working Men’s Club lead singer and song writer Syd Minsky Sargeant has a reputation for being uncompromising on the important things. However, if you dig the jars, stutters and hard house beats within Fear Fear, there is no need to fear (fear) the remainder of this very listenable and fine album.
I’ve lived with Fear Fear for a scant 3 days and already I relate to it much better than I did personally to the band’s very creditable self named debut album, released in the dying months of 2020.
Fear Fear has a whole range of ideas, beats and rhythms to explore, discover and absorb. Syd apparently already had the seeds, germs and some of the beat tracks for this second album at that point.
The album itself creates a mood of the times and echoes those recent pandemic days and the fear and paranoia. Fear Fear is an album which hits it hard. Lets hope we never go back to those accusatory days.
The first time I came across Working Men’s Club was while the rest of the the North of England was experiencing the p1ss bombs, the horrible beer, the queues and the expense of Leeds Festival on August Bank Holiday 2018. I had joined the smart set and had traveled in the exact opposite direction for a far more pleasurable evening at the wonderful Todmorden Golden Lion. Here an evening of joy and discovery occurred with the most excellent Goa Express and the early line up of Working Men’s Club showing their wares.
Even then, a 17 year old Syd was keen on perfection; I remember that getting the sound into acceptable form at the sound check took quite a while. Syd’s eye for detail and perfection is also well evident in Fear Fear.
The album strikes me as a musical representation of a mood and a feeling at a point in time. That said, some of the tunes are much more immediate than others. Cut has a very simple and effective retro beat, which reminds me of the shock and the heyday of original electro.
I’ve read a couple reviews of Fear Fear and I get the 1980 Sheffield reference, but one name I’m a bit surprised that not one has yet name checked is Gary Numan. If I can leave Gazzers extremely dodgy politics to one side for a moment, Numan was adept at pushing the boundaries and creating something which simultaneously challenged, was incredibly focussed and was also something infectiously catchy.
That’s not to say that Working Men’s Club sound like Numan; that would be a very cheap effort on my part. No, its the Numan sense of making something different, knowing exactly what the song ‘must’ sound like, and that making music on the boundaries is more that I pick up.
There are far more rhythms, influences from the likes of Depeche Mode, The Pet Shop Boys and Joy Division all mixed up with an innate inbuilt rhythm for dance. I did hear The Lounge Society describe how hearing dance and club and dj music at the Tod Golden Lion as a routine, had infused and influenced their music almost in a subconscious way, and so it seems so for Working Men’s Club.
Later on but pre covid, I remember seeing Working Mens Club at the Huddersfield Parish, where I toyed with asking enigmatic Syd for an interview. I chickened out, and so the prospect of my asking Syd inane questions about what he likes to cook and such like will sadly always be destined to be but a twinkle in my eye. Syd ended upstairs with a roadie trotting up and down stairs with records to sign so perhaps that interview would have been tricky anyways. What I do know is that live, Working Men’s Club cook up a storm, and that intense focus again weaves through. Fear Fear is going to sound amazing live.
This week are some instores (some out of store haha); 17 July 2022 Working Men’s Club are at the Leeds Brude, 18th Bristol Rough Trade, 19th Pryzm Kingston, 20th Brighton Komedia, and 21 July Rough Trade East, London.
* images are from Working Men’s Club Social Media