Review by Phil Dillon in the WOW, Dec. 2014

The Gentlemen’s Club This month sees the release of ‘The Gentlemen’s Club’ by Stuart Turner and The Flat Earth Society. Their second EP, which follows three full length albums, is brought to us by the recently stabilised line-up of Stuart (himself) on vocals and guitar, Nick Rice (Groovy Uncle) on bass, Bob Collins (The Dentists) on guitar and vocals, Rob Shepherd (Singing Loins, The Longtails) on vocals and all the stringed instruments you can think of , and Steve Moore on drums (Steve also designed the EP’s sleeve). Pressed onto delicious 10’’ vinyl by the good people at Vacilando ’68 Recordings, the EP is also available as a digital download. The music itself is what we’ve come to expect from Turner and Co. over the past five years or so, but there is always a refreshing twist with each release, and this time is no different. The opening track, ‘Midlife Catharsis’ swaggers straight in with an instantly memorable blues/rock riff that belies the sensitivity of the lyrics. The song, co-written by Turner and Shepherd, takes a journey as it’s backdrop and deals with getting older and the realisation that comes with loss and responsibility. That it does this in the manner of The Rolling Stones circa ‘Exile on Main Street’ seems incongruous, but it works well. ‘Odyssey’, the second track, is a bouncing folk tune that visits the traditional theme of a man who likes to ramble, but feels the call of home, for a while before the road calls him again, and so it goes. A great treatment of a familiar subject that is neither used up nor worn out. Writing and lead vocal duties are handled by Rob Shepherd on ‘Pier Road’, an infectious tune that seems to be about the writer’s youth and sounds (and this is a very good thing) a little bit like REM might have sounded with Joe Strummer at the front. Tasteful lead guitar and moments of bold harmony round the arrangement off perfectly. The EP closes with ‘Migratory’, a song of two parts, with an odd but effective structure. At the beginning it just floats. There’s a lush, quiet sound, as sustained bass and vibrato guitar act as a raft for plucked, carefully placed notes from the other strings. Then suddenly there’s a huge chorus that rises and subsides to the refrain “I go where I’m wanted”. The song deals with economic and political migration, not as something to be irrationally feared, or misused to bolster a self-serving career, but as a human and emotional thing. This is an excellent EP from a great line-up that has gelled beautifully, and I look forward to the next longplayer. The Gentlemen’s Club is available from: www.stfes.com www.vacilando68.org

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