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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

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

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.