Working Class Hussys, Diary of a Working Class Cracker

A listen to the Working Class Hussys’ new album, Diary of a Working Class Cracker evokes a melding of vintage Chicago, ELO-like melodies and a tinge of quirk a la Weezer. The sound as a whole is slightly nostalgic… a sort of “I’ve heard this before” Je ne sais quois. The lyrical matter ebbs towards the lighthearted and whimsical (“Whiter Shades of Trash”) and flows to the more deep and heartfelt (“Somewhere You’re Smiling”). As a whole, the 10-tracks illustrate that a strong album can come from a serious commitment to the songs all the while not taking oneself too seriously.

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The acoustic strums of “Break” introduce the throwback sound of WCH with electric and piano fills, busy backing drumbeats and multiple soundscapes that seem to flow into one another. The album toes the line between a classic Steely Dan tune and contemporary Alt Rock to give it another facet all together. This gives way to the aforementioned “Somewhere You’re Smiling” with its bent note Blues guitar note fills and Patrick Gentles’ vocal delivery that commands a range from gruff grit at moments of emphasis to near falsetto range within the chorus. “Whiter Shades of Trash” lightens the mood with its whimsical ethos of “soccer moms and prefab homes” and certainly evokes Electric Light Orchestra. The musicality again treads equally in the realms of Alt Rock and Easy Listening. “Friends of Mine” opens to acoustic picking and string arrangement before surrendering to jangle guitar and backing key work. Again, WCH bring the quirk on this one which features Gentles’ channeling Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson on the vocal delivery. As with the rest of the tracks, the melody is complex with multiple soundscape interplay through to its rather abrupt ending.

Musically, this album is big. The instrumentation and multiple use of melody lays out the complexity of the tracks, arguably each bigger and more complex than the former. The tracks borrow from elements of Geek Rock (Weezer, XTC) to Classic (ELO, Chicago, Supertramp) and the whimsy of the songwriting rests nicely with the melodic nature of the tracks. Again, I feel equally like I’ve heard this before and like I am listening to something completely uninfluenced at the same time. The album production is tight without being overproduced… there seems to be a high degree of care and attention to the culmination of sound, allowing all the myriad of sounds to shine through. Overall, well done on all fronts.    

Rating: 3.5/5  

by Christopher West –

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