W.H. Lung - Incidental Music - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

W.H. Lung - Incidental Music

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2019-04-05
W.H. Lung - Incidental Music
W.H. Lung - Incidental Music

W.H. Lung are the studio project that had to start playing live. Incidental Music is their debut album and it took two years to make as they let is come together naturally without forcing it. They are named after a cash and carry in Manchester.

The album starts with the longest song, the 10-minute Simpatico People. It begins like something by The Berlin School – all synth arpeggios, sweeping electronics, and solid drumming. It takes a couple of minutes to burst into life and become a kind of Electronic/Kosmische/Pop thing, rather like Gnoomes or Teleman. The guitar playing is of the meandering Robert Smith type. Also like The Cure, they combine outré music with a solid, pop vocal tune (and vice versa). They layer more instrumental and vocal tracks and I am reminded of Metronomic Underground, the lengthy, building opener on Stereolab’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup. Another gentle arpeggio starts Bring It Up. It soon becomes meatier and the track becomes another weird pop song – this time reminding me of Wild Beasts or even The Associates. But the Kosmische/Shoegaze still lies beneath the pop surface. Hookworms were in this territory on their exceptional Microshift album. Unfortunately, they then fucked it right up. Inspiration! has a solid groove at its heart and noisier guitar. The vocal is more like David Byrne this time. Again, the layering is important – they build up the layers to build up the urgency. The variation in guitar playing is also good – sometimes it’s noisy, sometimes it’s intricate, sometimes it meanders around. An Empty Room begins gently enough and, when the drums come in, has a more stately pace. The electronics, however, are a bit noisier. The chorus is particularly big and windswept, albeit in a contained, electronic way. Half-way through it becomes a totally different tune. Nothing Is has another slow beginning with everything going through a Tremolo effect. Slowly W.H. Lung build up the layers until the drums come in after 3 minutes, quickly followed by the vocal. The pace is now quite frantic and the band rip into the final five minutes of the song. Guess what? Want builds up slowly. The playing is quite intricate on this. It’s also another big chorus. This track is one of my favourites on the album. The lyric is great, reminding me of Terry Bickers on Levitation’s World Around. Second Death Of My Face gets going a bit quicker than the other tracks but still features arpeggios, a strong beat and whooshing noises. The vocal is a bit throatier here and the music is closer to The Horrors at their most electronic. It’s another big chorus. I like that W.H. Lung drop these huge choruses into long, intricately layered songs. Overnight Sensation is the last track on this splendid album. It’s close to being a classic album-closing ballad but keeps picking up the layers and the intensity and winds up being close to something on Heaven Or Las Vegas by The Cocteau Twins.

I’m not sure where W.H. Lung beamed in from but they seem to have arrived fully-formed. They’re too smart for this to have been their first go at music. This is irrelevant, of course, other than as a way of saying that here is a new band that really know their onions. They know how to write, play, sing, arrange and produce. Incidental Music is an absolute belter and I feel sure that W.H. Lung will be much more successful than their hermetic instincts and quirky name would suggest.

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