Home Countiess Release New EP ‘In A Middle English Town’
London based genre-hopping punks Home Counties release their second EP ‘In A Middle English Town’ via Alcopop! Records, ahead of the band’s first UK headline tour commencing next week.
Over the past 18 months, Home Counties have firmly established themselves as one of the UK’s most vital new bands. New EP In A Middle English Town, self-produced by the band’s guitarist Conor Kearney, blurs the lines of art-punk, guitar-pop and danceable post-punk in thrilling fashion, taking cues from the likes of Talking Heads, Devo and Gang Of Four, and lyrically examining the claustrophobia and suspicion of everything outside of the semi-detached, Thatcherism politics, the complexities of the British north/south divide and small village mentality.
An electrifying fusion of danceable punk and synth-fuelled guitar pop, the new EP was previewed in October 2021 by its lead single“The Home Counties”. Showcasing Home Counties at their most playful, the track expands on the wry lyrical humour the band are now well known for. “The song ‘The Home Counties’ is set in a small town somewhere in the South of England and centres around a generic married couple and their daily existence. It is about mundanity, claustrophobia and suspicion of everything outside of the semi-detached. The characters are placeless and nondescript, emblematic of the uniformity of middle-class people across the commuter belt”, Harrison says of the self-titled track.
One of the first songs to come out of the initial writing sessions for Home Counties, EP opener “Back To The 70s” kicks off proceedings in searing fashion. “The lyrics were inspired largely by criticisms that came up a lot in the era of Corbynism,” singer Will Harrison explains. “It’s poking fun at the arguments that he would drag Britain into the dark ages with what were pretty normal Keynesian economic policies. It’s not intended as some ringing endorsement of the 1970’s — it’s more a questioning of the narrative that we were saved by Thatcherism and everything’s great now.”
“Ad Gammon” was a late addition to the EP, a song that had been kicking around the band’s portfolio of idiosyncratic punk since their formation. “We thought of it more as a joke than a serious Home Counties song,” the band admit. “The song is about a visit to the town of Ashbourne in Derbyshire a few years ago when we were on tour. There is a kebab shop there that (sadly no longer) gave the option to ‘Add Gammon’ to any item on the menu, which we were wildly fascinated by. Barn successively just ordered ‘One Add Gammon please’. The town have this annual tradition of a no-rules football match between two sides of the town, which we were lucky enough to spectate. There was a profound anti-South sentiment to the whole thing. There was a bizarre moment at kickoff where the guy throwing the ball in shouted at a drone in the sky ‘we don’t need your drones, we police ourselves!’, which made it into the song as a lyric.”
‘In A Middle English Town’ closes with art-pop rocker “Village Spirit” — lyrically based around a book by historian Alain Corbin. “It’s loosely written about a book called Village of Cannibals, which is about the murder of a nobleman in late nineteenth-century France. Based on rumours, the whole village was whipped up into a frenzy and ended up brutally torturing and murdering the nobleman. The lyrics focus on the contrast between positivity of place-based collectivism and the meaning it can bring, and the often tragic consequences of it. It’s a really messed up story, and contrasts what is probably one of our most gentle and melodic songs.”
Speaking on the band’s beginnings, the band said: “We’re often labelled as a Bristol band but we left uni a few years ago and then found ourselves stuck in our hometown in Bucks for a year during the pandemic. The name Home Counties didn’t hold much significance when we formed, but being back here for the past 12 months made us reflect more about our sense of place here. The EP isn’t directly about our experiences — it more lives in a semi-fictitious and generalised idea of Middle England.”
Home Counties launched straight out of lockdown and into a busy summer of festivals and tour dates, including sold-out headline shows at the 100 Club and Servant Jazz Quarters and support tours with FEET, Courting and BDRMM — adding to previous appearances alongside Shame, Sports Team, Pip Blom + more.
Home Counties are: Will Harrison (vocals/guitar), Conor Kearney (guitar/vocals), Dan Hearn (drums), Barn Peiser Pepin (synth/percussion/vocals) and Bill Griffin (bass/vocals).
Home Counties’ new EP ‘In A Middle English Town’ is out now, released 11th February via Alcopop! Records. The band tour the UK starting next week; dates are below.
2022 Headline Tour
16 FEB – Jericho Tavern, Oxford
17 FEB – Hare & Hounds 2, Birmingham
18 FEB – Castle Hotel, Manchester
19 FEB – Headrow House, Leeds
21 FEB – The Louisiana, Bristol
22 FEB – Heartbreakers, Southampton
23 FEB – Prince Albert, Brighton
24 FEB – The Lexington, London