W H Lung have just released the first track from their highly anticipated second album, Vanities, due 3rd September. Called Pearl in the Palm, the single marks a departure from the Manchester band’s first album Incidental Music.

When an artist you’re particularly fond of announces a change of direction there’s a bittersweet moment. Yay, new music but… there’s a moment of trepidation. Suppose you don’t actually like what they’ve done. I’ve now listened to Pearl in the Palm, well, several times over, and I’m relieved that W H Lung have incorporated a shift in sound without compromising what made them so distinctive to start with.

There is no messing around with Pearl in the Palm, it has an immediacy about it, crashing straight into the heart of the action, breaking with the tradition of, well, think back to the lengthy intro of Sympatico People. This dancefloor banger starts with a jittery, synthy intro leading into Joe’s familiar vocals. The track keeps its compulsively disco-infused path on a steady and unwavering course, ensuring that if you’re lucky enough to hear this on the dance floor, there will be no let up to the very end.

Says Joe Evans of the new work, “We wanted to move away from easing people in and grab them by the heart straight away. I reflected on how we played live shows and romanticised about launching onto the stage in a bundle of energy and starting the party, no messing. The directness comes from making music more intuitively, and more from a place of fun. 

And the song gradually brings in more layers, gorgeous pops of 80s style disco, frenzied drums… punctuated by a chorus of “I lost”.

Yes it’s a banger of a record and yes, it takes the band into new territory but there are elements that are written in W H Lung’s DNA, threading through their music like a name through a stick of rock. As the song develops, that familiar fog of moody intensity seeps into the layers, creating a mysterious tension.

The video is a gorgeous thing too: following human rubber-band vocalist Joe Evans as he shimmies his way around Co. Offaly and Co. Laois with a roving cast of extras including a donkey and a balloon.

If this is a foretaste of Vanities, out early September, looks like we’ve got plenty to look forward to.

W H Lung links
Joe Evans – Vocals / Tom Sharkett – Guitar / Alex Mercer Main – Drums / Hannah Peace – Synths + Vocals / Chris Mulligan – Bass + Synths

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