In the past they used to talk about things being ‘in the water’ when exceptional stuff happened in specific places, but perhaps it’s a lot simpler than that. The Calder Valley is located between Leeds and Manchester and thanks to some of the country’s most ambitiously progressive booking policies The Golden Lion in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge’s Trades Club have been able to attract a list of stellar artists to what was previously a region more widely known for it’s brass bands.
The knock on effect has been a new wave of local groups – including Working Men’s Club, The Orielles and The Lounge Society – which have taken the region’s cultural isolation and turned it into a strength. And in perhaps what’s even a less likely step, this little Bohemia is attracting what can only be described as music tourism. Named after a local Chinese grocery store in their native Manchester, W.H.Lung were originally conceived as a studio project but their debut album Incidental Music brought such widespread acclaim that former school friends Joe Evans and Tom Sharkett have now expanded the line up to a quintet. So enthralled by life just down the M62 were the pair meanwhile that they decamped to ‘Tod’ for the purposes of being inspired to prototype the songs which would eventually become Vanities.
As part of the process they consciously broke the links between their first and second albums; instead of the past’s introspection there’s a more hedonistic, club-orientated vibe to the likes of Gd Tym and Pearl In The Palm, whilst ARPi threads the morning after. If the past is a different country, Vanities is ample evidence that the future is a different town, one just over W.H.Lung’s present horizons. Or maybe it’s just the water.
Read the full review here.