April 23, 2024

Practical Lovers – Agony

Released on Cassette & Download

Practical Lovers are a Nottingham-based synth duo that that are as indie as all get out. They could have been birthed at any point after 1981 and grown in a bedroom, raised on discontent and a diet of The Smiths and Soft Cell. Simple synth, backing lugubrious vocals, presenting sequenced patterns and tales of unfulfilled love, fulfil an essential part in the life-cycle of the misunderstood young human. I’m pleased that Practical Lovers do it with style and are knowing enough to throw irony into the mix, never becoming authentically whiny.

Jack Wiles sings carefully with a deep and steady tone, a measured delivery of the miseries of love. “It took me twenty-five years to tell you that I loved you. I wish I’d known how easy it would be” is a not-untypical line. “I’ve been worried about my health, I’ve seen the symptoms on TV, I haven’t told you about it, but I know you will work around it” is another. Lyrics are a proper catalogue of woes and somehow sum up all the reasons a young human might want to push against entry into the adult world, whilst still wanting it, in all its cool anomie. “I’m not sleeping well these days, my head keeps grinding on and on, my head’s all full of you” intones Jack. Why would anyone want the exhilaration / degradation of romantic love?

This is a proper celebration of what you can do with inspiration, perspiration and minimal resources. Issued on download and cassette, this has a DIY ethic about it and relies solely on the efforts of the duo, no studio trickery or session musicians. C’mon, punk kids – try and copy this in your room.

The melancholy is strong in this one.

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