The Lounge Society — Cameron Davey (vocals, bass), Archie Dewis (drums), Herbie May (guitar) and Hani Paskin-Hussain (guitar) — is a rising Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK band, whose members are roughly around the ages of 16-17. And in a remarkably short period of time, the Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire-based act have developed a sound and approach that draws from a diverse array of influences including The Fall, Talking Heads, The Velvet Underground and Fat White Family among others.
The rising British act caught the attention of Speedy Wunderground co-founders Pierre Hall, Dan Carey, and Alexis Smith, and by the time the band’s manager had contacted the label, Hall, Carey and Smith quickly recognized that they were in a now-or-never moment to work with a band that by all accounts are lining themselves up to one of the next big things from Northern England. Because of their youth, the members of the and actually needed permission to miss their exams in order to come down to Speedy Wunderground’s Streatham, Greater London headquarters and studio to record material. And they needed an adult guardian to check them into the nearby hotel they booked for for their session.
Despite their relative youth, the young rising act made quite the impression on the Speedy Wunderground folks. “They are great. Really fun to work with — and a fucking amazing band,” Dan Carey enthuses. The day that the band entered the studio, things happened quickly: after messing around a bit with the members of the band trying out different amps and guitars. As soon as they were ready, Carey set the mood of the sessions by turning the lights off and turning on the smoke machine and lasers. And as they started to play, the building’s smoke alarm went off, which according to the band and the label was the first time that had ever happened.
Earlier this year,. I wrote about The Lounge Society’s debut single, the expansive yet breakneck “Generation Game.” Clocking in at 5:30, the band self-assuredly crafts a difficult to pigeonhole sound with the single featuring elements of shoegaze, psych rock, punk and Brit Pop held together by a propulsive rhythm section. “Generation Game” manages to capture the upstarts as a runaway train of rambunctious abandon, piss and vinegar and distortion pedaled power chords.
Building upon the buzz they received from “Generation Game,” The Lounge Society’s latest single “Burn the Heather” continues their ongoing collaboration with Dan Carey while being centered around a post-punk/punk funk strut that recalls Talking Heads, Gang of Four and Echoes-era The Rapture, complete with copious cowbell. And while being a dance floor friendly jam, the song finds the band continuing to write material that’s sociopolitically charged: The song’s title is derived from the annual local ritual of rich landowners burning moor-top heather for lucrative grouse-shoots. Locals in the valley have blamed that annual local ritual for frequent flooding that has devastated them financially and emotionally. Much like its predecessor, “Burn the Heather” is the sound and voice of England’s young people — and perhaps young people everywhere: hyper aware of their local and global world, articulate, pissed off, energized and ready to grab society by the horns.
Centered around strikingly macabre lyrics, “Burn the Heather” is a deeply personal song for the upstart British act. “‘Burn the Heather’ is a song deeply rooted in where we come from,” the band explain in press notes. “The lyrics are our interpretation of some of the darker aspects of where we live, and our personal reaction to them. Musically, ‘Burn the Heather’ is intended to be an adrenaline shot to the brain. We wanted this to be the second single all along. We don’t want to be just another post-punk band, and we knew ‘Heather’ would keep people on their toes. Unlike a lot of our tracks, the guitars are quite minimal and the rhythm really carries it, and we think it works really well. We want to make people move.”
Directed by Nick Farrimond, the recently released video fittingly follows the song’s macabre lyrics with rich landowner types hunting people — in this case, young people, dressed as prisoners in orange or perhaps red?) jumpsuits. (Editor’s note: Americans will see it this way. Across the country, the orange jumpsuit typically denotes prisoner.) Clearly pointing out the inequalities of power, class and wealth, the members of the band are hunted down — and there’s ton of carnage, as well as an ironic twist.
“Born from the sense of injustice surrounding irresponsible land owners who clear heather from the moorland for grouse hunting, (resulting in increased flood risks below in the valley where we all live) we decided to portray caricatured versions of grouse hunters, dressed head to toe in tweed and showing total disregard for the landscape and devoid of any values, morals or ethics,” the video’s director Nick Farrimond explains. “The band play the parts of grouse, making their way across the moors, dressed in fetching red boiler suits and unaware of the impending danger they face. What ensues is general carnage as the grouse are hunted one by one, each meeting a grizzly, untimely end…or do they? You’ll have to watch the video to find out.”