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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