Luke James
Luke James

CLUNK Magazines chief album review guy and a lover of cats!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Label: FatCat Records

Social Haul is the self-titled debut album from a band started by the lead singer of Traams, Leigh Padley. When Traams decided to take a break following their last tour, Leigh’s itchy writing hand led him to form Social Haul. Recruiting friends Daniel Baws on bass and Richard Trust on drums, they were ready to start writing. What has come of this inability to take time off is 10 songs that pop out of the speakers with its mix of influence from Gang of Four to 2000’s indie bands such as Young Knives and The Futureheads. Fans of Traams will find a similarity here but not a carbon copy.

Lyrically, Padley is coming for everyone. ‘Anthea’ sees him spouting “I understand God, it’s entry level spirituality”. ‘Wet Eyes’ has Padley musing “vote for the other one, society teeming with pattering drones”. All of this is set to repetitive, rhythmic drums and jagged, buzzsaw guitar playing. It creates a sound that could equally be filed under both post-punk and indie with its hypnotic rhythm section coupled with a pop sensibility to some of the hooks. ‘Utmost Care’ takes the indie approach of Maximo Park whereas ‘The Bayou’ goes down the hypnotic droning route of a band like Grinderman.

As what is essentially a side project, Social Haul ticks all the boxes and feels like an outlet for a man that has a lot to say. Feeling like a partner band to Traams rather than a straight-up copy, it will be very interesting to see where each band goes from here. In ‘Prized From the Rot’, Padley sings “time doesn’t stop, you’ve got to keep it up”. Not only has he kept it up, but he’s also just kick-started something very exciting indeed.

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