Two years ago, The Wind-up Birds released their début album The Land. An album about Englishness, communication, isolation and community, sizzling with post-punk energy, moving, bleakly funny and full of tunes, it won plaudits far and wide, with 6Music and certain areas of the press and blogosphere clutching it to their hearts. Notwithstanding deserved comparisons to Art Brut, The Wedding Present and The Fall, it stood alone amongst the alternative music of 2012 – or any year.
Sportsmen went on adverts claiming winning is everything
We took them at their word and then we all found out
That winning is really, really boring
Poor Music is more than just a worthy follow-up to that classic debut. Still unmistakably (Northern) English, still bleakly funny, and still musically bursting with just the right balance of hooks and grit, it’s also bigger, braver, cleverer and scarier. And (unbelievably) better. Taking its cue from albums like Pavement’s ‘Wowee Zowee’, it’s a sprawling record where carefully constructed epics sit alongside tossed-off fragments, where perfectly constructed punky pop songs rub shoulders with painful, searing bleakness. In vocalist Paul Ackroyd they have a truly peerless lyricist, and the band match him note for note.
And we never cheated on Choose Your Own Adventures
And we didn’t laugh when we stood at the board of job vacancies
And we made other arrangements when they closed all the libraries
And we shrugged when they stopped the money over new technicalities
Trailing the album, The Gristle will be released as a single on May 19th. A lean, angular post-punk earworm and a gritty, unsentimental tale about lost youth and missed opportunities, it crystallises this singularly great band at their best. It will be available from http://thewind-upbirds.bandcamp.com with a couple of exclusive B-sides. Here’s the video:
Poor Music will be released on May 27th via iTunes and Bandcamp, with a physical CD release available through selected shops and online. The band will be launching the album with two special gigs: at London’s 12 Bar Club on May 27th, and in their native Leeds at Wharf Chambers on May 29th, with more dates around the country to come.