“My body and mind are both still a wreck too. Normally one of the two is okay by now. The British Library Sound Archive got in touch with us today and said they'd like copies of our tapes. My nervous system is not sufficiently recovered to process this weird information. I told them that they should really be destroying our music not preserving it.” Transmission of unidentified origin from the WMNU bunker
Today I saw a large, weary, nervous faced working class woman in a cream coat get off the bus, turn, look at all the passengers and draw her finger across her throat with pure curdled hatred burning in her eyes. I saw that today. Several years ago I was walking in the Highlands and came across a stream, bleeding into which was a magnificent seven-pointer stag, face down in the stream bleeding out what was left of his face, the majority of it smashed away by a hunter’s bullet. His single remaining eye black and cold like a doll’s eye. I recalled the stag as I looked into the eyes of that woman today. I had plans to write about Jake Bugg, but I just couldn’t, not after that profound atavistic jiving this morning. As Workin’ Man Noise Unit would say, keep sleepwalking. The lager-swilling Reading yawp merchants are fans of feedback loops that mimic their palindromic titles and generally maintain that we are living out the last days of this technological nightmare we’ve constructed and the only way to exercise the demons and fall back into some semblance of humanity is to debase our sweaty selves in the dank and darkened basements of our oil-soaked industrial cities, debase ourselves to the basal noise freerock of MC5 clashing with High Rise in the same realm as that utterly wonderful Vincent Black Shadow workout that crossed Iggy with more Iggy. This is about as Adam Black Savage as you get without actually being Adam Black Savage.
The first record, Drinking Stella to Make Music to Drink Stella to was heinously abrasive; like Rocket From the Tombs cover of Raw Power, ‘cept with vocals and distorted up the wazoo and so brilliantly outside of anything marketable or decent one can hardly imagine them in a studio. One can hardly imagine these righteous motherfuckers, forging their own musical path through the bramble patch behind a country house with a rusty machete and laughing incessantly, on a main road. This was back alley bastards music made by back alley bastards. The tape (ya, tape) begins with the sound of unmuffled motorbikes, six hundred pounds of chrome and steel, and comes with but one instruction – “play loud”. Dutifully we did, emblazoning it all into our minds as Drinking Stella to Make Music to Drink Stella to became the go-to after-dark summer freakout as we all cried litres of gin tears thinking that maybe all these years of fighting personal wars have paid off because someone else gets it, and what they get is that this rock and roll so rural and motherfucking and vast in a proto-punk garage way, while inappropriate for most of the straight population of the world, is the most direct and only obvious route to spiritual enlightenment and that these guitar outlaws were to be celebrated for giving us something we could not only form bands around, but something we could form religion around. We all worried though. What if they were the ‘Lectric Eels or the Rocket From the Tombs? What if they went and studio’d up and shagged the whole thing, or what if they just released this one tape (staggeringly motherfucking though it was) and vanished, never to be heard from again? Well I’m here to tell ya I’ve been living with their second cunted follow up, Serious Power Hour, and it’s a pure atavistic trip to jive you worse than any working class death threat brothers and sis-taz; it’s pure industrial hard-rock heathenism burning bright as the sun and ready to explode all over a dingy basement gig near you.
|WMNU are our Cerberus, a four-headed Reading beast to guard the gate.|
Laced with feedback loops and produced almost as brutally lo-fi as High Rise’s Speed Free Sonic all builds a wall of sound, and behind it a wall of authenticity so thick even bunker-busting munitions couldn’t make a dent. What’s instantly transparently clear is that like Vincebus Eruptum Blue Cheer, these dudes can barely play their fucking instruments (and I wouldn’t have it any other way) and the stubble-roughness of the recording is matched by the downright inhospitable levels of volume on this record. Even if you turn it down, it’s loud! It’s mountainous too, truly megalithic, the riffs stand a thousand feet tall like a Godzilla-sized man tramping over a miniscule Tokyo, the drummer and vocalist tossing each other into buildings, glass shattering everywhere as the audience scream with bleeding ears, not for help but for more. I can envision amp stacks so high a stepladder is needed to complete the stack, I’m envisioning the only limit for Workin’ Man Noise Unit to be the height of the ceiling. Christ help us if they ever get a major festival and construct amp stacks to rival a small city and proceed to stamp this self-aware volume colossus around the nation, reducing cities to dust for not being as righteous as them, or not being as industrial as them, and for not being as heavy as them. It’s full on bedroom rock we all secretly wanted to make, ‘cept now sans bedroom and real. Workin’ Man Noise Unit make the kind of record I’ve wanted to hear ever since I started wanting to hear records. Their freerock squeezed into the corset of structure by the braying vox is the kind of energetic unabashed youngness I’ve always wanted comin’ outta my stereo. Workin’ Man Noise Unit are proof (and proof is constantly needed) of the continuing and vital power of rock and roll to transport us. That noisy, breathless, thunderous, boisterous rock and roll will never go out of style and that so long as someone continues to hold the fort against all those who would ever attempt to sell or change or infiltrate a great institution, everything is going to be alright. So long as the gate is guarded by these vicious and deaf grizzly mountain men, the rest of us can rest easy knowing the sanctity of rock and roll is safe.
Get it all on their bandcamp, listen for free first, then agree that they deserve big fistfuls of yer money for keeping that flame burning. "That's a fucking tape ender right there!"
Written under duress by Steven.