After the mega success of 2015’s The Race for Space, those magnificent denizens of chords and cords, Public Service Broadcasting have returned with a brand new single and much teasing about a new album.
All is not quite as it was however, evolution and (dare we say it) progress continues within and the duo is now a trio. Having been involved for sometime as a multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, Mr JF Abraham (erstwhile of the Professor Penguin parish) is now a fully paid-up member of the band.
“Progress” is also the first single* from the band to feature a guest vocal, with Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell providing a swirling vocal hook that is so subtly infectious you’ll find yourself singing it absent-mindedly in the shower. With its trademark PSB guitar lines and atmospheric electronic sound, it is everything you’d want from the band with a little added something. It’s subject matter however is still up for debate.
With samples about the coming of machines in factories and ‘Why I believe in progress’ the title of a Henry Ford essay, we could assume it (and the forthcoming album) is about the modernisation of manufacturing, industry, the dawning of the age of mass-production and the beginnings of modern capitalism.
J Willgoose Esq is saying nothing though, not yet anyway so we’ll have to wait and see. Given that the band is about celebrating human achievement, it’s interesting (and fun) to ponder on what is in store. Especially as they have just announced a show at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, the press release for which notes cryptically that it is ”a room steeped in rock music history and of great relevance to the new record…” As a venue that historically was at the heart of London’s Irish community (that originally came over during the industrial revolution) that played such a role in the development and expansion of London itself, perhaps the album will be about our nation’s capitol itself?
Who knows? We can’t wait to find out though.
*The Race for Space’s ”Valentina” featured vocals from The Smoke Fairies but wasn’t released as a single so technically this is accurate.
”Progress” is out now and available to stream or download here.”