The Book Club and Life in Film: Plug, Sheffield

“Ladies and gentlemen remember I am a Teacher,” were the words of frontman (Mr) Joe Carnall. Some of the crowd raised their cans of beer to salute this lyrical connoisseur, similar to that of a US President on his inauguration. We the people, (which incidentally is one of their title tracks and also taken from the first line of the American constitution) listened to every word of this self-assured indie-pop outfit. But enough of the history lesson, although Joe as a specialist in the topic probably wouldn’t mind.

Comparisons are rife when making judgements on how a band sounds, so I won’t fall victim here. The regular political and historical references included in their lyrics offers a unique approach showing that the foursome aren’t interested in indie fillers, but rather indie fables.

Currently in the middle of their UK tour, home gigs invariably mean something slightly more special which could’ve have explained their preference for a denim theme (or maybe they just like wearing denim.) But unlike cheap denim that quickly fades, their intellectual messages mixed with beguiling bass and guitar riffs emphasised by their heartening ‘We Built The Dancefloor’ a definite crowd pleaser on the night, shows their staying power in musical originality.

Having been together for more than five years, they could be considered veterans of the Sheffield music scene. If you combine all of their ages it equals 104, which is almost the same number of years since London first hosted the Olympics. Yet, the desperation to strive for gold isn’t their most important motive. Instead, writing music that engages listeners through telling stories while simultaneously making good live tunes seems to supersede the lust for stardom. (I mean how many bands can boast having a doctor as their guitarist?)

Their newest song ‘Go Now’ demonstrates their introspective outlook. The use of vocal harmonies on this song, something which the band has consciously introduced shows their sound is not orthodox. The renaissance of vocal harmonies illustrated by the rise of artists such as Sampha, and the recent Mercury prize winner James Blake is evidence of how contemporary synchronised singing is within the industry. The Book Club’s versatility and willingness to adapt to different musical arrangements suggests that the band will get the recognition it deservedly merits.

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