Lounge Society – Tired of Liberty

If I am blessed with regular readers, they would know that most of the artists I champion are at the start of a long road and have just released one or a few tracks. I’m often astonished at the quality, the care, attention, and then the inspiration and creativity that goes into each little 3-4 minute or so nugget.

However incredibly skillful the work into a sole track might be, it’s a completely different level again for someone to then go onto produce a debut album that feels so more complete and so much more than the contents of the single tracks within. Despite their youth (just 19), and just the release of a single and an EP prior to the songs on this LP, there is absolutely no disappointment with Hebden Bridge/Tod based The Lounge Society and their long awaited debut long player Tired of Liberty.

I’m much too flighty to have a sole album of the year, but along with the releases from Honeyglaze and The Skinner Brothers, Tired of Liberty will be one of three I’d quite happily spend the rest of my days with on that proverbial desert island. I had always thought that The Lounge Society were long players with a long career in music ahead of them, I’m totally convinced now. Tired of Liberty is an album that will be dissected and discussed 20 years from now.

Every track on the album has its place, and although it’s been a little while since I’ve caught The Lounge Society on stage, it speaks volumes that of those tracks I have heard live, each of these tracks on record transport me back to that moment. As has been documented elsewhere each Lounge Society song usually has a clear but thought provoking message, and perhaps it is that use of minimal language which helps stick these songs firmly into the memory.

There a few tracks above others that immediately shout to me, but I’m still rolling with Remains as my personal stand out track. That said, this is the kind of album where my favourite will shift shape from track to track on each play.

The sheer confidence in Remains hits hard, both musically and lyrically. The song is about that fear that can sometimes grab you, perhaps in a crowded room. That sweaty palm, sweaty skull moment, and you just feel paralyzed. The strap line is brilliantly inspired: the irony is that you can go home whenever you want to. It’s funny how that knowledge makes it worse, eh?

Musically, the drum and percussion hit it home and then there is a fuzzy head busting pulse rush of guitars. There’s elements of both strokes and stroke (ha band and medical condition) here. I can imagine Remains being picked as a regular favourite track for the next generation 20 years from now.

That all said, who can possibly not have a space in their heart for the band’s imposing and frantic debut single Generation Game. At the moment I cannot imagine a live Lounge Society gig without GG being a highlight, and the trip home from the gig with my brain rolling with the lyrics What will the US do, to save our souls, to save our dignity?

Here the track is given a refresh which feels both less angry but more bitingly intense than the original, and a very spacey, trippy interlude in the middle. This is almost 6 minutes of sheer beauty. That guitar work brings out a wide grin.

There’s also the frantic synth energy of No Driver released earlier this year, which absolutely blew my little brain apart when I heard it. Here Cam’s vocals which are sung in places almost an octave higher, transport me back to a mix of John Lydon and Kirk Brandon and that line “The black dog knows you“, just exposes and chills me to the raw.

On the opening track of the album People Are Scary, I got a moment where the Bobby Womack track Across 110th Street floods into my head. Could those diverse, talented and multi influenced Hebden Bridge/Tod lads Lounge Society possibly have popped a sneaky little Womack tribute in there?

The band certainly describe being influenced by many sources including soul and dance, and there’s also a vocal tinge of Joe Strummer and a Clash vibe to this track, before it opens out into a slow flat landscape to close.

This track is like an aural waterslide; the heady soul anticipation, the rough exhilarating punky ride through the tubes, and then the recovery moment after the splashdown into the pool. This is a track which wedgies my swimwear.

Like Remains, the lyrics give a feel of a crisis of confidence in a busy crowd in this song which I think a lot of people can relate to at the moment. This is certainly a track which struck home with the lyrics of “I don’t know anybody in this room”, when sung in a packed venue.

It’s not all frantic, and there are a few tracks on Tired of Liberty such as North Is Your Heart which offer a quieter and equally reflective perspective of the world. Again that balance, gentle guitar and hard little backbeat and weaving of rhythm is equally vital on this album of many faces.

I’m not going to bore you dear reader with a ropy analysis of each track, but I think the tracks I’ve highlighted give a flavour of the depth and strength of Tired of Liberty.

I could come back next week and write an entirely different review taking different slants and sounds on the tracks here. It really is that good.

I think that what contributes to making this so good is the power and strength of the guys at Speedy Wunderground and then absolutely key is the way the 4 guys in the band collaborate and work together on each track.

The band describe a complete melding of thoughts, minds and influence in the writing and drawing together process and they all inately know what sounds right and best. Unlike most bands where one member perhaps brings something that others build upon, it feels here The Lounge Society have a freer and most democratic of processes.

Add in the experience of coming from a unique vibe in the north of England from the strange mix of hippy free but hard environs of Hebden Bridge and these guys have been given free reign to create something amazing.

Shine on you crazy diamonds as someone more eloquent might say.

Chris R

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