Dropping their long-awaited debut EP – Silk For The Starving – we caught up with The Lounge Society to talk through the inspirations behind the four-track release
As a music fan, sometimes things can get stale. Whenever bands become successful we see swathes of replication, as has been the case in the post-punk bracket in recent years, a lot of it sounds the same. “For fans of The Fall” seems to precede every introduction of a new band, and that is alright, but you want something to blow you away when things stagnate in this way, you need an evolution that makes you finish listening, and then instantly replay that which you’ve just listened to. That is exactly what happened when I got to listen to The Lounge Society’s debut EP for the first time. I spoke to their guitarists Herbie May and Hani Paskin-Hussain about the upcoming release.
The EP begins with a grooving bassline on ‘Burn The Heather’, which Herbie described to me as, “Fucked up disco.”
“That song is closer to classic disco than it is to any post-punk record really, it’s more Grace Jones than it is Mark E. Smith,” he continues, “I remember when we were just putting the song together, we went to the pub with Dan, and there was a Grace Jones record playing which made us look at one another and sort of ask ‘how do we get it to sound like that?’”. The aforementioned Dan is Dan Carey, the producer with the Midas touch operating out of the Speedy Wunderground label that has been making waves in recent years, boasting a critically acclaimed roster containing the likes of black midi, and Black Country New Road. “We wanted to create something that would get people off of their feet, there’s a lot of that sort of guitar-driven music that seems to lose any sense of rhythm and feeling, it seems like having a distortion pedal is enough for some people. But we just look at it as, if we can put our politically charged lyrics against something that will get people on their feet then that’s brilliant.”
“I totally agree,” nods Hani, “I think if we were really funky without that lyrical punch then it would sound boring, and if we were just very guitar-driven without that funky element and just the bleak political lyrics it would be boring too. One thing to note is that these ideas come naturally as well, we never force them, and I think that the sign of something good.”
‘Television’, comes next, starting slowly with two separate lead guitar parts chugging along in a prog-punk fashion similar to that of the Talking Heads early material. “Genocide makes for good TV”, vocalist Cameron Davey hammers on. The lyrical themes of the track are a scathing review of society, particularly online, think if Mark E. Smith was still alive to suffer the throws of your average Twitter timeline. Despite this similarity, Hani explains that the band are much more than that, “For fans of the Fall” tagline that fits many a new artist in these circles. “There’s so many bands trying to be The Fall and we just don’t want to be thrown into that. There’s definitely parts that are influenced by that, but I think to be strictly identified by that can be a bit dangerous”.
‘Cain’s Heresy’ is easily their most traditional song in terms of modern-post punk, but that’s not to say that it isn’t outstanding. Where they pick up their basic musical ideals, they do so very well, and in my opinion, it is the tightest track on the EP. “I think the great thing about Cain’s is,” Hani explains, “that it’s driving, it’s heavy and yet the melodies are still there, which I think some bands kind of struggle to grasp.”
“Yeah, it doesn’t mess about,” Herbie chimes in.
Coming up the rear of the EP is ‘Valley Bottom Fever’, and this is one that certainly doesn’t mess about. It undertakes everything that their shared love for bands like The Libertines when The Lounge Society came into being has instilled in them. It’s straight into the nitty-gritty of scratchy opium-induced lead guitars and driving drums from Archie Dewis, which could easily be mistaken for the work of Gary Powell. If you’d have given me this track without any information, I’d be hard-pressed to guess anything other than an early libertine’s demo, except for the fact that it sounds pristine. “I saw somebody describe it as cocaine-fuelled anarchy,” Herbie laughs, “obviously I can’t really comment on that,” we all share a laugh. ‘Valley Bottom Fever’ tells the tale of Hebden Bridge their local town, which is viewed to be a quaint market town, but as with all things, there’s a darker underside that really can only be seen by those that reside here on a longer basis, a similar vibe to Arctic Monkeys’ ‘From the Ritz to the Rubble’, but louder, darker, and yet somehow just as palatable. “A drug town, with a tourist problem”, is the chaotic mantra hurled at your ears by Cameron Davey.
This is a debut so complex and varied in its musical influences, that one finds it hard to believe that there are only four songs on the track list, and it leaves you wanting more. There’s an air of illustrious mystery about the band upon listening, with lyrics that are so hyper-local to the bands Calder Valley roots, and yet they could blanket the nation in their sentiments. Once more, there’s something humbling about their work, they speak intelligently, they want to make a difference and pioneer their genre, and they’re only 18 years of age! Let’s just say that it has firmly put to bed any hopes that my 21-year-old, unpractised self had of becoming a musician. I’m extremely excited to see what they do next.
‘Silk For the Starving’ is available to stream and download now.