Way Through have recorded a travelogue of potent sites of England. It is called Clapper is Still, and it is itself a place of places we enter as the music colours the silence. It is garish and awesome and melancholy and rowdy, and it essentially differs from the provinces defined by its many companions in 20jazzfunkgreats ever-evolving mixtape, for its concreteness, which we define three-ways:
Concreteness as in the building material. By contrast to the ethereal, brooding, threatening and supernatural sounds that we often focus on, Clapper is Still seems to us built of the same stuff where people lived and live. Stone, brick, and why not, concrete.
Way Through are aptly described as ‘pastoral punk’, but their music isn’t oblivious to the shape of things today. It recalls the fields that once spread under the grey crust of a car parking in the English hinterland, but doesn’t avert its gaze from the present like you don’t avert your gaze from the lines in a face weathered with age. To do so would be to deny life, death and history.
Concreteness as in specificity, the strength to become grounded in its sources like a village and its people do with the environment whence they draw sustenance, to consider the past and the details of the lives it contains as something that is real rather than spectral, something that lives rather than haunts. It shares with our friends the Hauntologists its obsession with the old time traditions, folk dances and legends, but aims for the source of their feeling (and traces their lineage) with the eye of the historian rather than sweep of the mythologist.
This concreteness conveys emotion, as with the exploration of Imber and Tyneham, two villages commandeered by the Army for firing ranges and training early in the 20th century, their people expelled and their buildings bombed ‘to keep men free’.
There is a rage in the cycle of drums and guitar of this song, a stance of defiance instead of the admission of defeat implicit in a mood of eeriness or nostalgia. Also a bounce, like that in the step of the jolly ramblers who now roam these places which, excised from history, were also protected from farming and development, re-conquered by wildlife, living slices of land like many other songs in Clapper is Still.
Concreteness as in musique concrete, music unwritten but captured raw from the landscape whose truth it reveals epiphanically as it intermingles with the memories/reactions that landscape awakes in Chris and Claire. Melody and noise hold hands and dance, like community and entropy in the festivities ghosting their way through the downs and dales of this album/place.
Clapper is Still will be released on the 11th of November. You can listen to another song from it, Roughtin Lynn, here.