Monday, August 22, 2022

The Lounge Society Break Free On Debut Album ‘Tired Of Liberty’

Alternative music in the United Kingdom has been dominated in recent years by one scene in particular – the re-emergence of ‘post-punk’. 

While this genre descriptor is now so vague that it encompasses bands such as black midi, shame, and Black Country, New Road, the prowess in production of Dan Carey and his Speedy Wunderground label is the commonality between them that has played a large part in launching these groups and their often experimental, abrasive music to the top of the British underground scene’s psyche. 

However, the latest band to release a full-length effort on the London label seek to break free of these pigeonholes. Yorkshire’s The Lounge Society look outside the ‘post-punk’ box with their debut ‘Tired Of Liberty’ out on August 26, synthesising influences from innumerable genres to create an incisive and pertinent rock album that will provoke equal amounts of introspective thought and dancefloor mayhem upon its release. 

Having said that, fans of the aforementioned bands – and indeed, The Lounge Society’s offerings up to this point – will find plenty to enjoy in this record. The opening four-song salvo includes the paranoid ‘People Are Scary’ with its angular guitar riffs and anxious lyrics (“I don’t know anybody in this room / Nobody knows me in this room”); ‘Blood Money’, the first single released in anticipation of this album which rollicks along with shame-esque cynicism; and ‘Beneath The Screen’ with its choppy synths and funky guitars soundtracking some pertinent technological commentary. These tracks really emphasise how a band based miles away from London have found themselves – and deserve to be – on the capital’s most exciting alternative label.  

Sandwiched among these tracks is the monolithic ‘No Driver’, the first taste of the young group’s forays into musical territory outwith the typical sound of their label. An early highlight of the album with a simple yet driving 80s synth riff, melancholic guitar arpeggios and Cameron Davey’s wailing vocals dovetailing around each other, the track is a four-minute crescendo that is more reminiscent of 2000s indie rock outfits such as Bloc Party than their London labelmates. It’s easy to see why this was the next promotional single from the album, a real statement of intent going forward for the rest of the record. 

The Lounge Society are perhaps unique among modern artists as there are very few set roles within the band. Outside of Davey on vocals and Archie Dewis on drums, guitar and bass duties are shared between Davey, Herbie May, and Hani Paskin-Hussain. This allows the four-piece to explore different sounds with each combination of instrumentalists, and this is apparent on the brooding ‘North Is Your Heart’. Guitars twinkle in jangle-pop fashion underpinned by a reggae-and-dub bassline with harmonised vocals floating through the middle of the mix, before the song kicks up a notch with a frenetic, rhythmic outro – near the centre of the album, this track is the most apparent and effective melting pot of all The Lounge Society’s varied influences into one, singular sound. 

Following the woozy ‘North Is Your Heart’, the record pushes on with a whirlwind one-two-three sequence, with the anthemic ‘Last Breath’ and ‘Boredom Is A Drug’ surrounding the wall-of-sound centrepiece of ‘Remains’. The former pair display the height of the band’s songwriting abilities where a catchy hook is involved (“I will spend my last breath singing”; “Boredom is a drug / Has it hit yet?”), succinctly capturing a sense of dissatisfaction and hopelessness while also urging the listener to get up and move. 

The album’s final stretch sees The Lounge Society explore an even wider range of sounds, really giving the sense that they are breaking free from the modern ‘post-punk’ stereotype. ‘It’s Just A Ride’ might as well be a disco song, an wild extension of the sound heard earlier on ‘Beneath The Screen’‘Upheaval’, the latest single released from the album, would not sound out of place on Echo And The Bunnymen’s hit album ‘Ocean Rain’. Its acoustic guitars, additional percussion, and plaintive vocals sound like a far cry from how the album started, but the group sound equally as comfortable here as they did in that staccato rock soundscape. 

The album ends with a reworking of their first ever release, ‘Generation Game’. Ironically to this point Speedy Wunderground’s fastest ever selling single, its inclusion here feels like a yardstick for how far the band have come in cultivating their own unique sound. With the most directly political lyric of the album, namechecking tabloids and wondering “What will the US do?”, the track seems to meld every single influence displayed over the album into one 6 minute polemic. Funky, reggae-like basslines return alongside machine-gun drums, synthesisers and proper rock ‘n’ roll guitars in a crescendo that sounds hopeful and inspired despite the cynical nature of the lyric – especially in the context of the 40-minute journey of the album prior. 

‘Tired Of Liberty’ listens like a band opening themselves up to new ideas, new sounds, and new worlds – The Lounge Society truly defy any categorisation, delivering an optimistic, exploratory, and integral album that will surely make many end-of-year lists. Just don’t call it post-punk. 

The Lounge Society’s debut ‘Tired Of Liberty’ is available from August 26 2022 via Speedy Wunderground. 


David Harrold 

Image: ‘Tired Of Liberty' Official Album Cover


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