Arms & Hearts – ‘Kerouac On Minimum Wage’
(Released 9th September 2022)
Taking their cues from a wealth of artists from across the punk and folk spectrum, Manchester artist Arms & Hearts has been plying their trade across the stages of the UK and Europe for almost a decade now; their idiosyncratic brand of heart-on-sleeve folk-punk earning them fans across the continent and as far afield as the USA.
Combining rich narratives and a prolific work-rate with true DIY punk ideals has seen Arms & Hearts compared to the likes of Dave Hause, Brian Fallon and Chris Farren, and something that’s immediately obvious as soon as one listens to their music.
Nowhere is this more evident than on their debut album, The Distance Between. Released back in 2020, it was the culmination of seven years of work and arguably Arms & Hearts biggest, most confident and most complete record to date.
It’s for that reason, that Arms and Hearts today release the video for what’s arguably the record’s highlight, ‘Kerouac on Minimum Wage’. “I wrote this song towards the end of a lengthy (and admittedly poorly planned) tour, in the middle of winter. At the time I was working way too much, for minimum wage, at a job I despised and I was dreading going back to it.”
“I’d picked up Kerouac’s On the Road and, like everyone else in their early ‘20s, loved the idea of ignoring all responsibility and taking off with my friends. Unlike Sal Paradise, calling up my wealthy relative and having them fund a similar excursion was never on the cards, for me or anyone I knew. I remember it rubbing me the wrong way.”
“I think Kerouac on Minimum Wage was my tongue in cheek response to being broke and miserable but still hoping for better. At the risk of being depressing, this song is about the reality of myself and my friends growing up under two decades of austerity.”
Though harbouring something of a bleak narrative, the fact remains that ‘Kerouac on Minimum Wage’ is three minutes of cathartic and uplifting folk-punk that’s as buoyant as it is resonant, while its 8-bit style video is equally as charming it is endearing, and succeeds in summing up the irreverence and the frustrations felt by those who’ve come of age under the last ten years of a Tory government.