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First Play: Public Service Broadcasting, Every Valley

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Andrea Gin

British post-rock band Public Service Broadcasting takes a deep dive into the rise and fall of the mining industry in Wales on its new album, Every Valley.

Listening to this new music feels a little like listening to a musical documentary. The instrumental band features samples of historical materials, like propaganda films and old newsreels, and manages to give a bit of a history lesson with each of its albums. Previous topics have included World War II and the space race, and Every Valley is no exception: on it, the band tells the stories of the Welsh working class and its struggle to survive during the mining industry’s decline and eventual collapse.

Frontman J. Willgoose, Esq finds the topic to still be very relevant now. “[The story is] applicable to industries all over the Western world and possibly beyond,” he said via press release, “in the way that the Industrial Revolution generated these communities that were so dependent on one particular industry, and what happens to that community when you remove that industry from it, and where that leaves us now.”

One aspect of Every Valley is markedly different from Public Service Broadcasting's previous three efforts: it’s the first album to feature singing. Featured guests include Tracyanne Campbell (Camera Obscura), James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers) and Lisa Jên Brown (9Bach).

The track “They Gave me a Lamp” is a collaboration with U.K. instrumental trio Haiku Salut, and tells the story of the role of women’s support groups during the U.K. miner’s strike in the mid-’80s, layered over an uplifting and bright indie-rock soundscape.

Ultimately, the songs on Every Valley address the band’s recently renewed interest in politics in the U.K.

As Willgoose told the Guardian, “That horrible phrase ‘stay in your lane’… this record rails against that and remembers the desire for bettering yourself that came from communities that coalesced around a single industry, when there was more political engagement and the idea of being working-class didn’t mean that you couldn’t appreciate art or poetry.”

Every Valley will be released on July 7. The band will be playing two dates in Canada this fall: on Sept. 16 at Belmont in Montreal and Sept. 17 at the Mod Club in Toronto.