Indie rockers from North Wales The Routines have found a sound that works for them. Having previously sung exclusively in Welsh, they switched to writing songs in English for the debut full-length album, Does It Work For You? which was released in December of 2019.
The album’s opener “Taxpayer” is reminiscent of early Artic Monkeys, especially in Dïon Jones’ vocal tone combined with his heavy accent. On the next track “Fuck Fight Factory,” Jones howls throughout the chorus, a scheme he’ll repeat later on in “Take It or Leave.” The verses tend to be just Jones singing over Jamie Thomas’ bass before Jones’ and Tom Hayes’ guitars join in for the chorus. Drummer Gethin Magee, however, is the real MVP of the group; his simple yet unrelenting beats keeps the songs grooving one after the other, and his back-up vocals help round out Jones’ melodies. These songs are energetic, upbeat and dynamic and would sound at home on any FM rock station.
Each song covers some aspect of working a manual labour job day in and day out. The lyrics echo the existential questions one ponders while they do the same repetitive task for eight hours a day, five days a week. Coming off of working a graveyard shift for eleven days in a row, it’s provided the perfect soundtrack. “Life Begins At 40” examines how married life aint what it’s cracked up to be, when going home is just as soul-crushing as going into the office. The title track continues this thought of couples wishing they could go on vacation to escape the monotony of working life but lack the funds to hop on a plane. The album ends on “Christening,” about the birth of a baby who is immediately baptized for appearance’s sake even though the parents are hardly religious. And thus the cycle continues.
The Routines is the kind of band that will play at a pub during happy hour to a crowd of working-class grunts fresh off their shifts at the nearby factory. And Does It Work For You? is what they’ll be listening to the next day during their commute to work, hungover, and bruised from another late night of drinking and fighting.
Written by Chris
*edited by Danielle Kenedy