Editors’ Notes There aren’t many bands who undergo drastic sonic transformations before they’ve released their debut album. But Working Men’s Club’s music reflects the restless, push-it-forward energy of their leader Sydney Minsky-Sargeant. Originally a trio dealing in jerky New Wave, the band’s direction was diverted when Minsky-Sargeant took charge of the creative reins during the making of this self-titled debut. “I wanted to make a dance record, but I didn’t want to pigeonhole it as just being a dance record,” Minsky-Sargeant tells Apple Music. The frontman’s knack for snarling melodies remains, now beefed up with a sound that harks back to the dance floors of late-’80s Manchester, a heady mix of pulsing beats, acid house pianos, and bold synths. “I started off writing music on my own, then it became more collaborative, then back to being solo again,” says Minsky-Sargeant. “I’m grateful that I was given a chance to do it on my own, because that was always the route it was going.” Here, Minsky-Sargeant makes sense of the record, track by track.

Valleys
“The way that it starts very barren, selectively adding overt components and instrumentation, I thought it was a good buildup to the start of the record and a good opening track. It's about where I'm from and how isolating it can feel to be in a small town in the North of England sometimes. It's quite a secluded, claustrophobic place sometimes. But I think everyone can relate to that in some way, wherever you live.”

A.A.A.A.
“It’s a funny tune. It blew me away how Ross Orton [producer] interpreted it and then how he made it. It was just a bass guitar and the same drumbeat, but with more brutal and normal-sounding drums. All the elements were there, but we chose to interpret it more electronically. Ross was using the synths to make drum sounds, and then we basically made that tune all on one synthesizer, which was really cool, and showed how minimal it could be.”

John Cooper Clarke
“I think John Cooper Clarke is a Northern icon. One of the last survivors of that era, going back into that period of time where he lived with Nico and lived in Hebden Bridge, which is down the road from me. He's just a proper punk, and one of the last remaining punks there is. Now Andrew Weatherall's dead, and people like that have fallen, he's still going. He just does it how he wants to do it, and I think that's quite admirable, as a creative.”

White Rooms and People
“It’s the poppiest, most indie-sounding tune on the record. It's hooky and captures that era of what we were doing when we started—but it's reinterpreted and much glossier. It feels like an older song to me. We did go back and reimagine it and put electronic drums on it, which I think really beefed it up and made it fit with the record.”

Outside
“This was an old demo of mine and we just made it sound better. It was the first tune that we did because we didn't know how to tackle it. We sped it up and just tried to really produce it, and it worked. It's quite a joyous tune, when the rest of the album is quite dark.”

Be My Guest
“I feel like there's two sides to this record and this is the first tune on the B-side. It’s the side of the record where it becomes more aggressive in stages. And this, I guess, is the most kind of nasty, brutal tune that there is on the record. It's all about the guitars for me, because I was really set on making sure that, especially that bit after the chorus where it goes into that big drop into those really high-pitched guitars, it just had to really carry.”

Tomorrow
“It's one of the last tunes I wrote before recording. It’s quite repetitive, maybe obnoxiously repetitive. I think when you're making that sort of repetitive music, it has to build throughout the backing. I guess it’s quite a polished, nice song in regard to the rest of the album. It’s more on the poppier side of things.”

Cook a Coffee
“We had to come back to this because the initial recording we did was really bare. I'm pretty sure even the guitars might have been out of tune or something, so we went back and redid all the guitars, and put more synths on. We had to revisit it and beef it up. But we definitely got there in the end. Those synths at the end make it more anthemic and pulled it all together.”

Teeth
“When we put ‘Teeth’ out as a single, there was a lot of back-and-forth discussion over which mix would go out. Me and Ross had worked quite closely on this tune together, and for me and him, the wrong mix went out. So as soon as we got in the studio, it was like, ‘We've got to change that mix for the record.’ And we did. It just drives it a lot more. It makes it a lot more cinematic than just guitars on top of synths. When we do stuff it's all so finely tuned, everything has its own place.”

Angel
“We play this second to last when we play it live, but in terms of the album, it had to be the last tune. I think it's just quite a pompous way to end it, isn't it? It's quite ridiculous. Whenever you read books about records and how they were done, it always seems that the last song's the last song that they recorded. And it felt like during the process of recording the album, we were putting it back–we knew it was maybe going to be a bit harder to capture. But it was actually fine. It was a nice way to end the recording process.”

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