1. Cloudless Sky
The first half of this song was a gift to my niece for her first Christmas last year. That version was more orchestral and only the flute motif remains. The second half was originally a longer instrumental piece but it didn’t fit with the more focused nature of the rest of the album. So I tried joining them together and it’s become my favourite track on the record because it’s unlike anything I’ve done before.
2. The Mirror
This song is about someone who cannot make peace with the way they look. The song seems to takes its own life after the second chorus.
This is a song about hitting your head and falling unconscious while dancing. The original musical idea came to me in summer 2016 when I rented a small cottage in the mountains in northern Czech Republic for a week to write many of the songs found on this album. If I left my door to the cottage open for too long, chickens would run in and poo everywhere.
This is a song about news addiction. I was never ‘clinically diagnosed’ of course but I think I had a quite a big problem so I stopped reading the news for about a year and a half around the time I opened the BBC News Homepage first thing one morning and saw this. I’ve slipped back in a bit now, but my relationship with it is healthier. I just watch a lot of US Satire (Seth Myers, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, John Oliver) and avoid anything terror-related. I’ve also started reading more books.
This is a simple song about hope conquering fear – violins conquering violence, hobbits conquering orks, Corbyn sort of winning etc. I really like the way this song has six or seven chapters that all sound different but, hopefully, still somehow work together.
6. Seasons Made of Stone
This is a song about someone who, though very successful, can never fully satisfy their ambition and eventually takes their own life. I saw the Stephen Frears film ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ last year and there was a line in it that really stuck with me – “…when I freed myself from the tyranny of ambition”. In England during my twenties I think my drive to make a living from music became somewhat tyrannical and manifested itself in ways that probably scared off some of the people in the music industry who expressed interest in my work. At private school, unlike at art college, you don’t learn how to play it cool.
7. Love Someone Like This
This song is a reflection on my changing perceptions of love. My friend Will Howes recorded a guitar solo that really elevated this song and he worked similar magic on a number of others on the album too. I recommend the Fuga Rapto EP that he released earlier this year.
8. The Hissing and the Hum
The sound of the album was heavily inspired by the Prague-based music promoters River Promotions who bring lots of stoner, psyche, kraut, noise, surf and desert-rock bands from all over the world to small basement clubs in Prague. These nights made me rediscover the ability to truly lose myself in live music and not, as I had been doing for many years at concerts as a songwriter, analyse and spy on what the musicians were doing. This song is about that joyous rediscovery.
9. West Wind
This song is about the rise of the ‘alternative-right’. I hope, as I say in the song, that all storms pass.
10. Stationary State