Led by frontman Zac Woolery, the London-based post-punk act DEADLETTER emerged into the national scene with the release of their debut single “Good Old Days” earlier this year, which received airplay on regional BBC and BBC 6. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the rising London-based act’s second single “Fit For Work” is an angry, attention-grabbing track featuring the angular guitar attack that recalls Entertainment!-era Gang of Four, centered around an alternating quiet verses, a No Wave-like, explosive chorus and call-and-response vocals.
Although the song has a decidedly British point of view, the song thematically focuses on our seemingly unending Kafkaesque hellscape of cruelly indifferent bureaucrats, and ridiculous laws and regulations that crush dreams, hopes and lives — in particular, governments and institutions that force people to work in the most absurd situations to get by — or to get a little bit of money from the government. “‘Fit For Work’ was a concept a long time before it was a song,” DEADLETTER’s Zac Woolery explains in press notes. “As a band, and as a writer, we [I] have always regarded the call and response strategy as biblical. The idea of having a conversation during the delivery of art leads to this absurd metaphysical tangent of acknowledging your art is art whilst performing it; similar to when artists use the line “I wrote this song for you because…” what they are doing, when you think about it, is taking away the idea that what they’re creating exists in itself, and is in fact an entity that exists in a wholly real world.
“As a song, “Fit For Work” is about more than just the Department for Work and Pensions. It provides a mirror to the world, and specifically the Britain of today. The ideas explored within the track are seemingly exaggerated accounts of reality but, upon close examination, have worrying roots in true experience, with the track aiming to parallel the savagery of the narrator in the song with the actual brutality of our government.
“The declaration of someone as ‘Fit For Work’ is symptomatic of the apathy and bureaucratic cruelty prevalent in society, where being unable to meet a certain ticked number of boxes (either literally or metaphorically), equates to the surrender of personal autonomy, and by extension, individual identity.”