The Calder Valley lies in the shadow of the Pennines, the often bleak hill chain which divides much of the North of England into east and west. Rugged, unspoiled and relatively isolated, if you’re in your sixties, on a fat pension and fond of hill walking, it probably seems like a little piece of heaven on earth. If you’re a teenager, skint and with no prospect of a job with some dignity or a home of your own any time soon, it might feel like a prison.
And yet the area has in recent years become an unlikely beacon of counter culture, with venues like The Golden Lion In Todmorden and the nearby Trades Club in Hebden Bridge the nucleus of a scene dubbed Calderfornia and which has already produced Working Men’s Club and The Orielles. With not much to lose and almost nobody to lose it front of, The Lounge Society – Cameron Davey (vocals/bass), Herbie May (guitar), Hani Paskin-Hussain (guitar) and Archie Dewis (drums) – are next, having taken some familiar post punk tropes and given them a ragged, hammer and sickle makeover.
Their debut EP, Silk For The Starving‘s four songs are a distillation of small town frustration and big ticket anger. Opener Burn The Heather skewers the private landowners exploiting local moorland to satisfy rich grouse hunters, their sinister post-punk-funk highly reminiscent of Gang of Four, whilst Cain’s Heresy is more direct, a war cry against the anesthesia of 24/7 shopping and influencer aspiration as ambition.
The quartet are no less forgiving on the scratchy, bone-dry Television, Davey pithily reminding us the ‘Genocide makes for good TV’, but it’s closer Valley Bottom Fever that really pulls hair and threatens to enrage the ladies of the WI, a scabrous, Fall-at-a-million miles an hour joyride with lyrics about the darker underbelly of their home as ‘a drug town with a tourist problem’.
Not so much Kings of the North as off with his head, Silk For The Starving’s polemical grooves show The Lounge Society are now ready with anthems for both your foot and your mouth.