We Used To Make Things - We Used To Make Things album review

Debut album from trad-rock Hackney eight-piece

We Used To Make Things album cover

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Despite their uncommon cheerfulness and good humour, as evidenced on tracks like C U Next Tuesday, there’s something mournful about We Used To Make Things, as their moniker implies. They’re a throwback to the 20th century, when the harmonic pop of The Beatles, Blur and ELO ruled the waves, and there was a bustling gig circuit that always had room for a wry, faux-shambling outfit like themselves, with a bit of brass and a knack for a well-turned tune. The bonus track We’re All F***ed Up feels like a lament for those times.

Not that they’re mere copyists. There’s a witty distinctness about their subject matter, building a character study from a case of office sickness on Colin Is Unwell, or a rollicking tune from an outstanding £50 debt between mates on Riley’s Keeping Faith. Love In A Minor Key is tenderly apposite but throughout, the question nags: we used to make room for groups like We Used To Make Things. And, like Pulp or Baby Bird, they’d occasionally make it. Could they now?

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.