Rock stars? Lazy? Don’t tell Hatcham Social. Recently, alongside being in Hatcham Social, several of their number have been filling as Tim Burgess’ live backing band. As well as being the support act on several dates. Which does beg the questions of whether they got twice the rider, twice the guestlist allocation and twice the number of dressing rooms for all that double time.
Somewhere in between, they’ve also managed to find time to make another album. This album, in fact. ‘Cutting Up The Present Leaks Out The Future’ is Hatcham Social’s third LP. It is not an album that should you find yourself covered in cobwebs, you’d choose to dislodge them from your being. It is the kind of album which gently creeps up, whispers conspiratorially in your ear and then exits using the backdoor.
Often quiet and mostly constructed from gentle, unostentatious instrumentation - brushes of acoustic here, splashes of drums there and an occasion string basking in twangy reverb - ‘Cutting Up The Present…’ is on the subtle side of the spectrum. It’s also reminiscent of Lou Reed, in many ways. Both ‘Ketamine Queen’ and ‘To The Moon (Is This The Way Man Will Survive)’ are dreamy, bathed in smoky atmospherics and delivered with stoic calm at a funereal pace. There’s a very Reedian, un-judgemental quality to it all, of not wanting to cast aspersions on those whose exotic lifestyles extend to either horse tranquillisers or space exploration.
They also manage to achieve being both innocently sing-song and strangely seedy at the same time, something which is helped by the scratchy, lo-fi way it all sounds. When they aren’t doing hushed numbers, the belt ‘n’ braces recording (live onto tape, apparently) keeps the album on nodding terms with plenty of other great bands from the 70s. ‘More Power To Live’ has the thrust of The Stooges, albeit in slightly more housebroken fashion, while the itchy ‘All That I See Is A Gun’ goes from solo Lou to VU Lou, without breaking stride.
It never makes any sort of vulgar, shameless grab for it, but there’s no doubting ‘Cutting Up The Present Leaks Out The Future’ really captures your affection. An album which feels lovingly crafted, full of moments that only reveal themselves after multiple listens. Turns out, not only do Hatcham Social work hard, they’re also pretty damn talented too. Bastards.