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  • Event data supplied by Leeds Inspired

Music, Wed 13 Jun 2018

Preoccupations

Preoccupations

Details

Preoccupations’ songs have always worked through themes of creation, destruction, and futility, and they’ve always done it with singular post-punk grit. The textures are evocative and razor-sharp. The wire is always a live one. But while that darker side may have been well-explored, that’s not quite the same as it being fully, intensely lived. This time it was, and the result is ’New Material’, a collection that broadens and deepens Preoccupations to a true mastery of their sound. In it lies the difference between witnessing a car crash and crashing your own, between jumping into an ocean and starting to swallow the water. 

“It’s an ode to depression,’ singer Matt Flegel says plainly. “To depression and self-sabotage, and looking inward at yourself with extreme hatred.” Typically resilient, the months leading up to recording 

‘New Material’ brought a new order of magnitude to feelings that had been creeping up on Flegel for some time. He’d written bits and pieces of lyrics through the course of it, small snippets he hadn’t assigned to any one thought or feeling but were emblematic of a deeper issue, something germinating that was dense and numb and fully unshakeable. As the band began writing music, that process gave shape to the sheer tonnage of what he’d been carrying. With virtually nothing written or demoed before the band sat down together, the process was more collaborative than before. It was almost architectural, building some things up, tearing others down to the beams, sitting down and writing songs not knowing what they were about. But for Flegel, it led to a reckoning. “Finishing ‘Espionage’ was when I realized,” says Flegel. “I looked at the rest of the lyrics and realized the magnitude of what was wrong.” 

‘New Material’ builds a world for that feeling, playing through its layers and complexities while hiding almost nothing. That inscrutable side is part of the magic, here, and a necessary counterweight to the straight-jab clarity of Flegel’s lyrics. You can deep-dive the lyrics or zone into a riff; you can face it or you can get lost in it. “My ultimate goal would be to make a record where nobody knows what instrument is playing ever,” says multi-instrumentalist Scott Munro, “and I think we’ve come closer than ever, here. It shouldn’t sound robotic — it should sound human, like people playing instruments. It’s just maybe no one knows what they are.” 

Opener “Espionage” lives up to Munro’s goals, kicking off with a clattering, rhythmic echo that gives way to sprinting percussion and a melody in the orbit of Manchester’s classics. “Manipulation” explores the futility of going through the motions, balancing a droney, minimal march with a thunder roll that brings it to the brink, and to the doomed romantic declaration, “please don’t remember me like I’ll always remember you.” “Disarray” bursts up like a blackened confetti cannon, the song’s undeniably bright melody dancing over a refrain of “disarray, disarray, disarray” and literally nothing else. “A lot of this is about futility,” he says, “trying to find something where there’s nothing to be found.” That hunt turns into a search-and-destroy mission on “Decompose”, a tense, speedy, “blow yourself up and start again” type of song, the very picture of creation and destruction, as Flegel writes “for better or worse, we are cursed in the ways that we tend to be.” And while calling an album ’New Material’ might seem like a smartass move, the truth is it’s as matter-of-fact a title as Espionage, Disarray, or anything else on the record. Why fight that? 

If the through-line unifying Preoccupations’ work is a furious, almost punishing cyclical quality, ‘New Material’ does offer some relief. “This is somehow the most uptempo thing we’ve ever done,” observes Flegel. That propulsive, itchy quality rescues ‘New Material’ from the proverbial bottom of the pit. To write these songs is to force oneself to reignite, to play them is to stand up and reengage. Closer “Compliance” may not seem revelatory on first listen, but it is deeply elemental, a crucial finale and the band’s first standalone instrumental. Original versions were built to death, reexamined and re-destroyed until they landed on just two chords — something simple, fundamental — and resolved to make meaning out of that, to show instead of tell. Flegel acknowledges it is more affecting to him than any other song on the record. It’s not redemption, more like a forced reprieve. 

Disabled toiletsFacilities for groupsOn-site light refreshments

Event details

Dates Times
Wed 13 Jun 2018 19:30 to 00:00

Also at this Venue

Events at this Venue

date event
Thu 26 Apr Shonen Knife
Fri 27 Apr Slug
Sat 28 Apr mastersystem
Fri 4 May Tom Clarke
Mon 7 May Brett Domino's House Party
Tue 8 May Grails

Address

33 Queen Road,
Hyde Park,
Leeds,
LS6 1NY

Location

Directions

See location of Brudenell Social Club on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: SE 283349  Lat: 53.80963 Long: -1.57170

By Car:

From Leeds City Centre: Head out of town towards Headingley/ Universities on Woodhouse Lane. After you pass Leeds University on the left, turn left at the traffic lights onto Clarendon Road (the Library pub is on this junction). Turn right at the next traffic lights (Leeds Business School is opposite) onto Moorland Road. Hyde Park is on your right as you drive along Moorland Road. At the next crossroads, continue straight on (Royal Park Road) and down the hill. Take the left at the Royal Park pub at the bottom of the hill. The Brudenell is on your right, opposite the playground. There is free car parking space at the venue.


By Public Transport:

By rail: Take a train to Burley Park station (one stop from Leeds City Centre). Leave the station and turn left at the top of the steps. Walk to the end of the road - you will see a large Co-Op on your left. Turn right and walk down Cardigan Road for a few minutes. Cross over and turn left onto Royal Park Road when you get to the Grove curry house. Keep walking along Royal Park Road, past the mosque, until you reach a crossroads. The Royal Park pub is on your right. Turn right and walk past the front of the Royal Park pub. Keep going, and you will reach the entrance to the Brudenell car park opposite the playground.

By bus: The 56 stops on Queens Road, opposite the Royal Park pub. Follow directions as above.

Parking: free

Accessible by Public Transport: 1 mile from Burley Park station

Facilities

  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments