MAGIC MIX

synth-pop . alt-R&B . cold wave . industrial

WEEK STARTING 23 Aug

Genre pick of the week Cover of Teeth - Feat. Gabe Gurnsey Remixes by Working Men's Club.

Working Men's Club

Teeth - Feat. Gabe Gurnsey Remixes

Madding crowds may have found their bounce to the beat of ‘Bad Blood’s post-punk groove but Working Men’s Club will defy all expectation with their eagerly anticipated follow-up. Forcing backs off the wall and deeper onto the dancefloor, electric stomper ‘Teeth’ possesses enough bite to set pearly whites on edge and induce a wildly ecstatic feeling that’s anything but comfortable.

“It is a metaphor,” teases the band’s singer, guitarist and beat-maker, Sydney Minsky-Sargeant. “It could be about going insane or what you see, what you think you feel inside, a lot of things… put through a drum machine… basically we just want to confuse the fuck out of people, in a good way!”

For Syd, alongside fellow Club members Giulia Bonometti, Jake Bogacki, and recently recruited bassist Liam Ogburn, the last 12 months has seen the 4-piece buckle up for a meteoric rise that’s been a hell of a ride; “Signing to Heavenly was a big deal for us,” offers Jake. “We’ve worshiped the label and its bands for a long time so it’s nice to be part of the family. It’s a culture; we’re all running in parallel.”

Like hopping aboard Willy Wonka’s psychedelic boat trip through their own funked-up factory, ‘Teeth’ puts the ‘itch’ into glitch and urges everyone to embrace the rave. Recorded with producer Ross Orton (The Fall, Roots Manuva, M.I.A, Arctic Monkeys) at his Sheffield recording studio, between a brothel and Fat White Family’s base, the vibrations of ‘Teeth’s chatter cut like fork lightning across a fog-filled Hope Valley. As the needle hits the groove, its threatening cowbell and motoric Techno beat buzzsaws Syd’s Mark E mantra, “I see grit in your teeth,” whilst a drum machine and frenetic guitars reinforce the party vibe. “We’re definitely a dance band,” Syd affirms. “If you can make someone move that’s a big thing.” Jake agrees; “When you can convince a person to subconsciously dance without understanding why, it’s a religious feeling and taps into this primal instinct.”

Shapeshifting through the band’s collaborative writing process, ‘Teeth’ offers an epic fusion of the band’s broad repertoire of influences from godfathers of early Techno, Stingray to Thelonious Monk’s jazzy piano riffs - not to mention LCD Soundsystem or Delta 5 bounce. “It works because there’s a conflict of what we each want from it,” Jake tells. “It’s like tectonic plates and that friction causes an earthquake. When we meet in the middle, ‘Teeth’ is what comes out.” Reworked from Syd’s electronic-heavy demo, laid-down at his Todmorden home through synthesizers and drum machine, the track’s climactic shakedown ignites a love of Detroit House, Acid House, Afrobeat and Cuban rhythms from his DJ beginnings and stepdad’s influence. “I’ve always been into Nigerian 70s funk, like William Onyeabor,” Syd tells. “It’s happy, jolly, danceable; I don’t think my own lyrics are that happy - but it’s not just about that. It’s about how great music can make people dance.”

Capturing moments to write, whether walking through woods, splitting crisp packets open at the local pubs around their northern hometowns or between chapters of reading Hunter S. Thompson and Sylvia Plath, Working Men’s Club put the groove first, unafraid to rear the wise heads on their younger shoulders. "We’re brought together by the fact we care about being 100% ourselves,” reveals Giulia. “We sing and talk about what needs to be said, to put it out of our minds and bodies. Music is an outlet, a medium to communicate.” Aspiring to the lyrical greats John Cooper Clarke, Lou Reed, Ian Curtis, Glen Campbell and Townes Van Zandt, the band first bonded over back catalogues rather than passing trends. “You should never deny your influences; you do things your own way,” suggests Syd. As for politics? “Bands like Squid, Black Midi, us, Orielles; we’re taken seriously, but aren’t politically adverse for sake of it,” Jake says. “Essentially, the country’s fucked and not enough of us are talking about it. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re a political band, but we’re not gonna, not talk about it.”

Singer, songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist, Desmond Coke's supremely rare, privately pressed, lo-fi, synth-soul fusion, "Let's Chase The Sun" is represented here in edited form. Painstakingly remastered from the original tapes, this self taught pianist, drummer and sax player condensed his musical experiences and dreams in to an opus on love and togetherness.

Desmond Coke alias 'Fatfingers' - named by fellow musicians due to improvisation and interpretation skills - began playing keyboards by ear at 15 and went on to a music career playing with the likes of Alton Ellis, Prince Fari, Barrington Levy, Dillinger, Don Cherry and Shara Nelson, as well as a gamut of the On-U Sound label's projects, including Creation Rebel, Dub Syndicate, Singers & Players and Mark Stewart + Maffia.

With an interest in reggae, dub, jazz, soul, meringue, gospel and garage, his sole album was a true fusion to create a brand new sound. Composed, arranged and produced by Coke, he worked with an array of seasoned musicians, including his own sisters Winifred (percussion / vocals) and Paulette Coke (percussion / DX-7 & M1 synthesisers).

Pressed on his own Saterlite Entertainments in 1989, Coke describes the album's purpose, "to get the message across to have focus, ambition, to dream and 'chase the sun'. That relationships are important, 'I need somebody' and naturally the chemistry is 'you and me'. Great relationships are about friendships and that it's ok to 'mesmerise a friend'. The most natural thing is to enjoy each other's company and to 'make a love child'. These good intentions and meanings, where love is the key." Some thirty years later Desmond's thoughts are as resonant today as then - Let's Chase The Sun.

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: What is this tropical funk curio I hear you ask?! Well, it's Desmond Coke! - with a name like that you'd surely expect him to bring the party, and like a white horse he elegantly struts across dancefloor, beach, terrace and club; the perfect soundtrack to a debauched night on the tiles in a foreign paradise.

Synthia

Tonight You Might / Dissolve

Big Crown records is proud to present their first foray into the exciting and moving world of boogie-informed synth-pop with a Big Crown super group of sorts, aptly named Synthia. Side A, "Tonight You Might", finds Lady Wray on vocals while production is handled by Leon & Homer. The song starts with drums that could seamlessly mix in with Juicy Fruit or Juicy, whichever is your preferred flavor. As promising as the song starts, Nicole's entrance on vocals guarantees that you've just put the needle on a Certified Banger. Side B, "Dissolve" is an instrumental designed for peak hour dancefloor play. With swinging flutes and sexy sax provided by El Michels himself, and drumming programmed by the best actual drummer in the land, Homer Steinweiss, Dissolve is just a good ol' time from start to finish. Big Crown records has been sitting on a grenade and were ready to set her off baby!

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Deee-licious soul musica here from a unique voice and bolstered with some incredible muscianship. Two tracks for rainy days, sunny days, lonesome nights and loved up evenings.


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