Thursday, 17 December 2009
Today i awoke to find bird shit on my window. It reminded me of the time a bird actually managed to land its spoonful of poop on my hand, and how my mother comforted me by saying it was lucky. This was years ago in some long-since concreted over park, i was around the 7 year mark and probably stood no taller than your very knees. Ever since this moment i've felt singled out, always looking over my shoulder or watching the skies, making sure that the crafty bird isn't hovering above me, waiting for the right moment to relax its tiny bowels and cover me in crap. The bird hasn't been quite as lucky since then either, never quite scoring a direct hit, but my life has been ghosted by the presence of bird shit, you'd only have to look on the roof of the mystery jet's van for the evidence. Whether its a sign of good luck or not though, i do feel lucky to be making a third record, and even if its not because of “luck” directly (good record label,charming managers and you kind people) i can't help feeling this haunting of bird mess dating back to that fateful day in the park has something to do with it.
Anyway, leaving birds and shit aside i want to give you a brief idea what exactly it is the mystery jets have been up to. We've been making our third record, in fact you could say we've nearly finished the thing, having recorded 11 or so songs. It's been committed to tape in a large spaceship of a building, in a sleepy suburb of west London and i think we all feel like we're making something good. I like to think of it as “21”'s older, bolder brother, though in reality there's nothing particularly brotherly about it.... it certainly isn't a christian rock record spouting creeds on the brotherhood of man. On production duties is Chris Thomas a very talented (and patient) fellow, whose virtually made more great albums than years he's lived. I'd never heard of him when Rough Trade suggested him as a producer at the start of the year, it was only when i wikipedia'd him that i realised i'd actually been listening to his records most of my musical life and that his name was in the small print on many of the cd's that live on my shelf. Add to this recipe a host of great engineers and a mysterious caretaker who leaves fresh pastries for us in the studio each morning (non-one has actually met him/her yet) and you might start to grasp what our summer/autumn has been all about. Obviously we've ventured out to play the odd festival, Benicassim and Field day being the most debauched of them all, but mainly the focus of our collective attentions has been on making music. “Widescreen” is my favourite word to describe the album as it stands so far, its a word that doesn't apply to all the tracks but definitely most, and i like the visual nature and sense of space the word has,it makes me think of endless Nevada desert-scapes and views from the cabin windows of aircraft. That's not to say we've made a gargantuan record of colossal emotion and epic proportion, but we're certainly trying.
The third album seems to be the one where bands really define themselves, they know their processes of song-writing well enough to do it brilliantly but not too well for it to be boring. I think in a lot of ways we've made a record that bridges the gap between Making Dens and Twenty One. Some of the sonic textures of our new album remind me of what we attempted to do with our first, the wild arrangements and psychedelic sounds... yet the autobiographical nature that defined twenty one's lyrics is an element that's quite prevalent in this new album. I don't think it will give you a very good idea of how our album sounds if you were to take the lyrics of Two Doors Down and drop them over the top of Zoo Time, but you'd be getting warm...you might accidentally create a genre busting tune that unites yacht-rock with prog-rock as well.
Anyway, i've made a mixtape for you all. It's a collection of songs that Chris Thomas has produced over the last 3 decades, some of them you may know, some you may not...the last track by the way, is an extremely guilty pleasure, more guilty than say chocolate or bondage. ENJOY!