The Drinking Club

The Drinking Club (Rock) - UK/Australia

Furloughed from his job as Professor of Film Studies at the University of West England at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Peter Hewitt came across a folder on his computer marked “Drinking Club songs”. Unopened for the best part of seven years, Hewitt decided that this was the perfect opportunity to revive his progressive rock project. His post in a Facebook group dedicated to the mid-80s new wave of British prog rock (fans of the likes of IQ, Twelfth Night, Pallas and Pendragon) asking for singers to get in touch was answered by Kevin Borras – and almost three years and a trio of EPs later they still haven’t spoken, let alone met.

The triptych of ‘The Flight of the Carthorse’ EPs comprised several of Hewitt’s salvaged songs together with a batch of newly written tracks, all created and pieced together via the 21st century technological marvels Gmail, WeTransfer and Dropbox. Radio Albatross named EPs 2 and 3 as their record of the year (bending the rules a tad) and The Drinking Club set about writing an album.

In August 2022 with the album written and demos recorded, Hewitt and Borras were joined by guitarist Tony Flint who, in typical Drinking Club fashion, lives in a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales. Flint added notable and spectacular six-string flourishes to the already huge-sounding seven songs that make up ...really?!? and with the expert assistance of mixing engineer Danny H Valentine (Danny Valentine & The Meditations, Lene Lovich Band) the now-three-piece band are proud to present their debut full-length opus.

Why ...really?!? - says Hewitt: “It’s been our default setting when faced with a never-ending stream of world events over the past few years. Just an overwhelming sense of incredulity mixed with inevitable acceptance of Covid, the scandal of bare-faced incessant government lying, the invasion of Ukraine, corrupt politicians, immigration policy, the Queen passing away, the UK having three Prime Ministers in the space of two months, PartyGate... did I mention the scandal of bare-faced incessant government lying? Not to mention that our football teams were both relegated on the same day. It’s a natural reaction to all this mental upheaval ...really?!?”

“There’s a definite theme to this album,” says Borras. “And it wasn’t all entirely intentional. Peter sent me a demo of A Song of Life as I was about to send him the lyrics for A Song of Death and neither of us knew that the other one was writing the ‘opposite’ song. We don’t really know each other in the traditional sense, but we agree on a lot of different topics. One of those topics is the theme that emerged from day one of the writing process, even though we were writing separately: you could call it ‘global dismay’."

The album features guest appearances by Das Kapitans’ Simon Bailey, renowned jazz trumpeter Dave Boa, viola player Vanessa Townsend, magician and voiceover artist Bryan Saint and Mark McGowan, aka The Artist Taxi Driver, who delivers a heartfelt message about the positive effects of immigration on British society in the form of an impassioned radio show phone-in rant at the tail end of But For The Waves. It’s powerful, poignant and horribly relevant.

Work on a second album is well under way and for a band who profess to playing "prog rock with a social conscience" it's not as though they'll be short of source of material.