James Poole recommendations

Music can save us

It’s good to be back.

I missed writing these pages. More to the point, I missed drinking music in at every possible opportunity. I’d become lazy. I was waiting for music to move me, as opposed to hunting it down. Maybe it’s that I no longer live around the corner from Rough Trade NYC. Maybe it’s that I started to rely on Spotify. Maybe music just wasn’t as exciting. Given that we’re now living in times where political discourse has basically disintegrated into dogma-fuelled bile, I’m genuinely hoping that music can plug in and fill a gap for us all. Society is in a bad way. Let art be our saviour.

So, let’s get excited.

First up I give you Manchester-based four-piece, Narcissus. Last year’s ‘Burning Candles’ was a huge slab of guitar-driven electronic pop; a thermonuclear New Order. It was a criminally overlooked highlight of the summer. Now with the involvement of ACR’s Donald Johnson, we’re expecting an album to land in 2020. Given that Don was one of the guys behind Marcel King’s ‘Reach For Love’, in addition to being the slap-bass playing, drumming wizard adding the funk to one of the finest bands in Mancunian lore, expectations for Narcissus in 2020 couldn’t be higher.

Working Men’s Club have one of the absolute best band names ever. This is just objective fact. That they are also pitched almost exactly half-way between Joy Division and ‘Extricate’-era The Fall also doesn’t harm. Taught, spiky, angular – if Talking Heads hailed from Yorkshire, maybe this would have been their sound. They also enter that growing list of ‘bands that James has had tickets to see, but failed to make it to the gig’. One mistake I will be correcting very soon…

Continuing the post-punk theme we have Nottingham’s answer to LCD Soundsystem, Do Nothing. They closed out 2019 with the single ‘Lebron James’, sounding for all the world like The Blockheads crossing over into proper post-punk funk. I love them already.

Seriously, watch them all. All three bands are giving me hope. Get stuck in.

Photo credit: Paul Husband