10" £8.59 Osc no. 2
Ltd gatefold 10" EP + 3"CD inc. booklet on Oscarson Records.
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What year is it? That was the question Nathan put to me whilst listening to this, the first release by The Workhouse in...oh... a million years or something. First up I must mention the packaging - its utterly tremendous, It arrives in a double gatefold 10” sleeve with some nice hand stencilled card and a booklet with lots of photos and lyrics AND a 3” CD containing same tracks as the vinyl. The price is amazing for such a wonderfully packaged item.
I remember The Workhouse as a dynamically superior post-rock group with heavy nods to Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai. Here they peddle a more song-based take on the ‘raincoat rock’ as peddled by Joy Division, The Chameleons and more latterly Interpol. If this was a re-issue I’d say its ‘of its time’, its all heavily atmospheric, windswept songs with The Edge-like guitar trills and Ian Curtis style vocals. At times its blatantly in thrall to Joy Division ‘F.N.O’ contains a bassline straight from ‘Disorder’ before launching into some sky scraping guitar scree. ‘Now I am on Fire’ veers back down their previous drawn out post-rock path, a dirge like tangle of reverbed guitars and the lesser heard these days post-rock glockenspiel.
Generally if you like Interpol, Editors and the bleak brand of 80’s rain-rock you are going to find plenty to enjoy here.
10/10 Wayne Guskind Customer review, 28th February 2014
Asking me to write a review about a Workhouse record is a bit unfair - since they are my favorite band and I love all their music and art and the band members as well. Having said that - this latest release "The sky still looks the same" stacks nicely next to all their previous efforts - which is very high-praise indeed. Before one even listens to the music - the vinyl EP is elegantly packaged with a mini booklet strewn with lyrics and (b+w) images (thx to Mark Baker and others) that befit the music and its messages. There is also a 3" CD of the same with an image of a circular steel-frame structure that is cropped perfectly. The 5 songs - for me - represent a bit of an evolution for the band - shorter songs with more vocals from Chris Taylor (whose voice continues to shine). From the first chords of the opening track - you hear their signature sound - "The Sky..." includes some nice falsettos (that is new and welcome) which adds to the rousing effect of the song. “F.N.O” returns to their more familiar "bass-driven" work. Steve Hands drumming is especially quite stout! "Now I am Fire" is so soothing - it is a song that makes me reflect - very emotional - perhaps the standout track here (kudos to Paul Tipler for production). "Western Skies" is another poignant song replete with deeply personal lyrics delivered with honesty by Chris Taylor. Lots of catchy hooks to boot! The spellbinding, instrumental "Seven Stars" ends things perfectly landing you back to reality. Taking a quote from "Boxing Day" - from the album Flyover - I will personally add to it and conclude by stating: The world is (truly) a brighter place because of The Workhouse.
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