The incomprehensible moment when a hook, a riff, a spine-tingling beat knocks your unassuming eardrums for six. An Alex Turner lyric springs to mind: “Mad sounds in your ears, make you get up and dance”. At risk of sounding like a starry-eyed adolescent, that is exactly what happened when Do Nothing’s Handshakes came a-calling on an otherwise inconsequential day at the office in 2018. Given a swift two-year rise since then, which has seen the Nottingham four-piece on just about every alternative Spotify playlist going, it would seem I was not the only one. Now, with new single Glueland in the ether, it proves no exception.
With all the driving force of an LCD Soundsystem number, the song hits the ground running on a hotbed of fuzz-tinged grooves. Like an impassioned schoolteacher – that you really want to listen to – singer Chris Bailey utters his David Byrne-esque vocal with compelling conviction. As the track progresses, Bailey’s lyrics twist and turn around melodious yet hard-hitting riffs. Dipping their toes into new waters of minimalist rock, the single has all the poetical appeal of the band’s earlier post-punk discography but lands left-field on the wider indie pitch.
Reducing the scope to the song’s subject matter, it seems fitting that the track revolves around the idea of ‘remits beyond our control’ given the recent rehash of lockdown. Bailey explains: “The song refers to the feeling of being stuck in some kind of weird limbo-land. It’s about how rather than being dictated by wild or dramatic decisions, a lot of things (both good and bad) are controlled by this sort of lame jockeying that happens right in the grey dull middle ground of everything.” If we can’t control the current global situation then at least we have ‘Glueland’ to rant about it on our behalf.
With the East Midlands’ lads at the heart of what has been an invigorating few years for the punk community, it may come as no surprise that the single was mixed by Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard vocalist Tom Rees. A stirring display of Do Nothing’s diverse musicianship, in a similar manner to Turner it’s time to get up, dance and wait eagerly for the next.
Words by Laura Pegler