Formation have come at just the right time; post-Brexit Britain is looking ugly, our Prime Minister is cozying up with a monster across the pond and people have lost their identity. Wheel in Look at the Powerful People, the London five-piece’s very own call to arms to do something about it, strung together on ten infectious tracks.
Frontman Will Ritson’s agenda is unconcealed; “Look at the powerful people, stuck in their wonderful world” he sucks in ‘Powerful People’ turning a heavy anti-establishment debate into a synth-pop anthem you can lose yourself in. There’s floor fillers to cover all areas; ‘Pleasure’ sees Ritson chanting about politician’s lies over tribal drums, ‘Drugs’ demands you don’t need certain things to validate yourself in society and ‘Buy and Sell’ is an LCD Soundsystem inspired no-nonsense banger which snarls at the world of advertising.
‘Back Then’ has been shaken up to include contorted saxophones and even more cowbell and by the time ‘A Friend’ weighs in it’s no surprise to your ears that synth-player Sash Lewis has worked alongside Four Tet and Caribou. It’s a mega-hit with over two minutes of euphoric synths which would sit as comfortably in A Made In Chelsea break-up scene as it would an underground rave. The hardest-hitter on the album, but not the one that comes closest to encapsulating their sound. That, they say, goes to the much subtler ‘On The Board’, a track about chess which oozes groove and sounds like one of Jungle’s cuts.
By the end of six-minute epic ‘Ring’, a song about breaking free from negative people who take advantage, it feels as though Formation’s debut is more of a lesson than an introduction. You’ve learnt something, even if it’s little past the point of how to checkmate.