London duo Ultimate Painting’s second LP isn’t due until August — Green Lanes arrives August 7th on Trouble in Mind — but James Hoare and Jack Cooper have already put out one of Rob Sheffield’s favorite songs of the year so far. And they’re ready to submit another track for consideration: “(I’ve Got the) Sanctioned Blues,” a wonderful bit of Feelies-esque jangle we’re premiering here today.
So what exactly are the sanctioned blues in question? “The Conservative government that we’ve had in the U.K. for the last five years have been particularly hard and cruel on the less fortunate members of society,” Jack Cooper tells Rolling Stone. “Someone who’s found themselves unemployed has to jump through a variety of hoops to receive a jobseeker’s allowance; a paltry amount of money to help support themselves. . .If you’re late for your meeting or you fuck up some paperwork, they slap you with a sanction and the tiny amount of money you’re getting by on gets taken away. It’s straight out of Catch 22.”
Cooper says “(I’ve Got the) Sanctioned Blues” is the sound of the band trying to make sense of the situation. “Songs that borrow the imagery and rhythms of the railway are as old as the railways themselves,” he says. “We didn’t really set out to fit in with that tradition, but I suppose that’s where it’s at.”
Keep an eye on this space for the band’s upcoming tour dates.