Public Service Broadcasting will be live in-store at Rough Trade East to perform tracks from new album 'Every Valley', released 7th July on PIAS.
6.30pm Doors // 7.00pm Live On-stage // 7.45pm Signing // 9.00pm Close.
Shining a light not just on coal miners but the disenfranchised everywhere and set against a backdrop of industrial decline, Every Valley is the new album by Public Service Broadcasting.
The follow up to 2015’s ‘The Race For Space’ sees J. Willgoose, Esq. take us on a journey down the mineshafts of the South Wales valleys and the stories found there are a black mirror to the plight of workers everywhere. He explains:
“This album isn’t just about mining, and isn’t just about Wales. It’s a story reflected in abandoned and neglected communities across the western world, and one which has led to the resurgence of a particularly malignant, cynical and calculating brand of politics”.
The title of the record is taken from that of a 1950’s transport film yet it implies peaks and troughs, ups and downs, and has deep biblical resonance with the sound of voices proclaiming, “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low”. The sentiment of those voices has been transposed into a 21st Century of ‘fake news’, populist politics and a total disregard for the voiceless. Speaking on what drew the band to the subject J. Willgoose, Esq. says:
“It’s often difficult to say with precision where an idea came from and when or why it arrived. What I can say with conviction is that the more I thought about it and the more the world changed over the past couple of years, the more pertinent and gripping the idea of writing an album about coal mining, centred on the communities of South Wales, became.”
Musically speaking, Every Valley manages to be both classic PSB, whilst also introducing a first for the band. Current single Progress is the first to use a guest vocal, as Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura lends her affecting delivery to the track. The album’s opening and title track features a clip of Richard Burton and highlights beautifully the kudos and status attached with being a miner while the industry was prospering. ‘Every little boy’s ambition in my valley was to become a miner… They were the kings of the underworld’. In an age when Britain recently went a full day without generating coal for the first time since the 1880s, his words take on a cruel significance.
The beginning of the record focuses on the heyday of coal mining, with an extract from The Pit declaring that ‘we must turn to coal again, for all the strength we shall need’, while People Will Always Need Coal boasts of South Wales ‘having enough coal for another four hundred years’.
The visceral, raging All Out represents a shift in tone and deals with the year-long strike of the mid-eighties, while Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield brings authenticity to Turn No More. The track also features an extract from Gwalia Deserta by Welsh miner turned poet, Idris Davies. His work celebrates the community spirit of the valleys in the times of inter-war unemployment.
You + Me is a beautifully delicate ballad featuring Lisa Jen Brown of alt-folk group 9 Bach, singing in her native, Welsh tongue. They Gave Me A Lamp focuses on the political awakening among the women’s support groups at the time of the strike and features instrumental, post rock trio and previous PSB live bill sharers Haiku Salut. Penultimate track Mother Of The Village is a warts and all portrait of the desperation felt by a community left bereft after the destruction of its lifeblood, while album closer Take Me Home is a beautiful take on the classic miners song, sung by the Beaufort Male Choir.
Following up on the massively successful, silver-certified The Race For Space, which went on to spawn a remix and live album, as well as their excellent debut LP Inform - Educate - Entertain, Every Valley is Public Service Broadcasting’s most affecting and powerful work yet.
Released on the 7th of July, Every Valley is a story of dignity, social responsibility and it rails against the apathy of our times. The latest piece in the ever-engrossing PSB story, it is a resounding call to arms.