Written by Myf Warhurst

Arts

Open your ears! Smart, sparse post-punk pop

Myf Warhurst shines a spotlight on women who should be peppering your playlist. This week, beautifully desolate soundscapes from Manc lass LoneLady.

LoneLady portraitIt’s not often that brutal cement architecture comes to mind when listening to contemporary music, but this is exactly the landscape that lends itself to LoneLady’s second offering, Hinterland.

The word hinterland traditionally means the country beyond – areas of land that exist off the main drag – and this album sits comfortably in that imagined blank and rather desolate space.

Hinterland album coverMusically, it’s a post-punk-pop-funk amalgam that transports the listener to the spaces far outside the pretty main street lined with colourful flowers planted for the benefit of passing tourists. This album fits in more with a landscape of deserted council flats, where the ground is flecked with puddles of water that reflect the grey walls and even greyer skies.

Hinterland is a really smart but sparse album that is still organic enough to make you want to get close to it and dance. All together, the combination sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it really does.

LoneLady is otherwise known as Julie Campbell, a resident of Manchester, which explains the grey-sky feel to her tunes. She wrote this album during her daily walks around industrial estates near her home studio, the Concrete Retreat.

Campbell clearly finds beauty in the bleak. The album is grounded by simple and strong bass, with drums forming the backbone of this record. The result is sparse and minimal, but there are enough flourishes of funk, ‘80s pop, electro and the odd disco beat to keep things from feeling impenetrable. It’s surprisingly organic sounding given the concrete context in which it was recorded.

This is thoughtful music that inhabits its own individual place on the musical spectrum. The first single from the album, Groove It Out, is a tad misleading when compared to the album’s entire landscape, as it’s one of the poppier numbers on the record. But never fear, the rest is funk-infused post-punk that’s all sharp edges, but warm enough to get those hips moving. Only if you do so under the shadow of a deserted tower block or a car park somewhere, of course. It’s only right.

Hinterland is out now on Warp Records.

www.lonelady.co.uk

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Written by Myf Warhurst

Myfanwy Warhurst is a broadcaster at Double J radio (ABC Australia), TV presenter, Guardian columnist, music nut and general layabout.