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The Vinyl Whistle

W H Lung - Every Inch of Earth Pulsates

W H Lung - Every Inch of Earth Pulsates

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Album - Release Date: 18/10/24 - Clear Vinyl 

Genre: Alternative

“A huge thing for this record was to make it feel as close to our live show as possible,” says Tom Sharkett of W.H. Lung’s latest album. “We didn’t want it to sound live but we wanted to capture the excitement of the live performances.” 

This is something that has become paramount to the group in recent years as they have undeniably blossomed into one of the most joyous and arresting live bands in the country. “The reason I’m in a band is to play live music,” says singer Joe Evans. “For me, music is live music. That’s what it’s for, to be played with people.”

The five-piece band, also featuring Chris Mulligan, Hannah Peace, and Alex Mercer-Main, decided to try something new on their third album after two incredibly successful collaborations with previous producer Matt Peel. In order to capture the energy, spirit and dynamism of their live shows, they relocated to Sheffield to work with Ross Orton (MIA, Arctic Monkeys, Working Men’s Club) who was able to harness this side of the band to remarkable effect. “Ross is the Sheffield Steve Albini,” says Evans. “He’s the king of not overthinking it and trusting the process of the art of recording songs. He was always there to stop us fucking around with cerebral stuff and get it down.” Sharkett echoes this too: “He was the exact producer we needed without us even realising. His productions and mixes are bombastic, lively and in your face and that’s exactly what we wanted.” 

However, while this album is rooted in a sense of capturing a moment and a sparky liveness, that’s not to say it’s a raw or ragged record. It is still a meticulously composed, delicately layered and pristinely produced piece of work that, in true W.H. Lung style, runs the gauntlet from dance to pop to indie while still capturing that distinctly unique quality that is unquestionably their own. “It was a really big thing for me to realise what made us sound like us on this record,” says Sharkett. “I think the album sounds a lot more confident and self assured because of it. Some songs sound just so much like Lung and I’m really proud of that. I’m not sure we’ve done that as consistently across the other records.” 

While the band have drilled deeper into finding their own singular identity, it’s not a record resting on its laurels. It’s a significant leap forward, expanding on their solid foundations while also breaking new ground. “The big difference with this record is its directness in every sense,” says Sharkett. “The songwriting is more upfront. Previously we’d focused a lot on vibe and production as opposed to just writing songs. The overall mission here was to revert to a classic songwriting structure and for the production to come afterwards.” And so what you have on this record are deeply considered and well-crafted songs, then recorded with blistering intensity in the moment, and then given a touch of experimentation afterwards. Then throw in Orton’s contributions to the band and it’s proven to be a real winning formula. “He brought a real dose of magic to the songs we’d written,” says Sharkett. “And brought an extra bit of wonk and quirkiness each time.” 

The band’s ability to write more traditional and conventional songs is clearly a skill they’ve taken to with ease, at times there’s an almost Springsteen-like quality – but if he'd ever had an ecstasy period – to tracks such as ‘Thinner Wine’ and ‘Bloom and Fade’. While ‘How to Walk’ was constructed with one thing only in mind: that it would absolutely slay on stage. “I can’t wait to play this live,” says Evans. “We wanted a song to represent our live set, a new big one, and this is it.” Once again it leans towards the anthemic, with its driving, propulsive charge complete with incandescent synths and vocal melodies so irresistible you can already hear them being sung in unison by a crowd.

It’s an incredibly difficult feat to pull off a record that is more rooted in traditional songcraft while also capturing the power of a live performance, as well as pushing sonics into experimental new directions while working with a brand new collaborator. But here the band has managed to do just that.  And the album’s closing song ‘I Will Set Fire To The House’ is a perfect example of such a thing. It’s a song that feels immaculately constructed but also very much alive and of the moment as its radiating synths engulf from the off, and Evans’ vocal is silky but powerful and in perfect symbiosis with Peace’s. It’s a song that captures the endless joys of music playing long into the night. “It may be a bit of a bloody bombastic way to end an album saying ‘and we’ll dance into the sunrise’,” says Evans. “But fuck it.”

 

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