Tag: Editors

Live Footage: Whispering Sons Perform “Satantango” and “Surgery”

Initially started in 2013 as a hobby for its then Leuven, Belgium-based founding members Kobe Linjen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Lander Paesan (bass) and Sander Pelsmaekers (drums), the rising Brussels-based post punk act Whispering Sons have evolved a great deal. As the story goes, in search of a singer they recruited Fenne Kuppens, who at that point had been uploading covers of bands like Slowdive to Soundcloud. Already fostering deep ambition, she rigorously prepared. “I’d always wanted to sing in a band, but I never had friends who made music, they weren’t in my surroundings,” Kuppens recalls in press notes. “They were talking about this post-punk thing that I’d never heard of before, so I had to read into it. I could see myself in it, I felt the music.”

Leuven is a quiet, European university town and its mainstream-leaning music scene didn’t connect with Kuppens. But after a year studying abroad in Prague, where she immersed herself in the city’s DIY scene, Kuppens was galvanized — and inspired. “I made friends there who did things with their lives! There was a guy who had a DIY record label and who made music, all from his bedroom. I thought, if they can do this, why can’t we at least try?” Kuppens recalls. As soon as she returned, she relocated to Brussels. The remaining members of the band — Linjin, Hermans, Pelsmaekers and Paesan — later joined her. And immediately, the band quickly began honing their live show and sound.

Inspired by Xiu Xiu and Chinawoman, Kuppens distinctive, low register vocal style emerged early. “I started to feel more comfortable on stage, to express myself more rather than just singing a song,” she says. “I started feeling the music more, identifying more with the sounds and what I was doing.” Kuppens stage presence became known for being transfixing and trancelike, defined by compulsive and movements. “People have said it looks like I’m fighting my demons onstage, I guess there’s some truth in that,” she says.

During the summer of 2015, the band went into the studio to record material. “Fenne was really pushing us saying ‘We have to go for it, not just make another demo,” Whispering Sons’ Kobe Linjen recalls in press notes. The result was their goth-inspired debut EP, 2015’s Endless Party EP. Just a few months after its initial release through Wool-E-Tapes, the Brussels-based post-punk act won Humo’s Rock Rally, one of Belgium’s most prestigious music competitions. With the increased attention and accolades came bigger shows, bigger tours across Europe and larger crowds. “People started to expect things from us. We had to adapt quickly,” Linjen adds.

With the demands of a growing profile, the band began setting new, more ambitions targets for themselves. While writing new material for the increasingly longer sets their increased status required, they began to grow tired of the limits of post-punk and eagerly sought ways to push past them as much as possible. “We wanted to evolve, we wanted to attract larger audiences and not just play in one scene,” Kobe continues.

The Belgian post-punk quintet released two 7 inches, 2016’s “Performance”/”Strange Identities” and 2017’s “White Noise” — while going through a lineup change: the band’s friend Tuur Vanderborne replaced Paesan on bass. The band’s Micha Volders and Bert Vliegen-produced 2018 full-length debut Image was released through Cleopatra Records here in the States and Smile Records throughout the rest of the world. Recorded over a ten day period at Waimes, Belgium’s GAM Studios, Image found the band crafting a dark, brooding blend of experimental and frenetic post-punk that expressed the alienation, loneliness and anxiety that each individual member felt when they relocated to Brussels, Belgium’s largest city.

Image garnered praise from music press across the globe — and it amassed millions of streams across digital service providers. Before pandemic-related quarantines, lockdowns and restrictions, the Brussels-based post punk quintet was establishing themselves for a ferocious, must-see live show while sharing stages with the likes of The Murder Capital, Patti Smith, The Soft Moon, Croatian Armor and Editors. “We were very happy with Image, and at that point it was the best thing we could have made,” Fenne Kuppens says. “But from the moment we finished it we started to look at it in a critical way. ‘This is something we should do again. This is something we don’t like.’ So very quickly we found the direction we wanted to go in for the next album.”

Last summer, the members of Whispering Sons retreated to the Ardennes to work on new material. And in those writing sessions, the band took what they believed were the strongest part of their earliest work and refined them even further, with a focus on their greatest strength — sheer, unpretentious intensity. “We tried to create an album that’s more direct and more dynamic. More in your face,” Kuppens says.

Interestingly, Kuppens can trace the origins of the lyrics for the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Several Others from one sentence she’d scribbled in a notebook “Always be someone else instead of yourself.” “It’s terrible advice,” Kuppens says in press notes. “But it resonated with me and my personal ambitions.” She stared writing about her uncompromising perfectionism that although was partly responsible for the band’s initial success, was becoming stifling and overwhelming. “I was at a stage where it was becoming unhealthy. You always think things have to be better, that you can always do more.”

Recently, the band released two companion singles “Satantango” and “Surgery” off the forthcoming single. Both tracks see the band ambitiously pushing the ferocious drive and intensity that helped win them international attention to the limits — while delicately balancing fragility and vulnerability. Centered around anxious and propulsive instrumentation, both songs evokes the unease of someone hopelessly trapped in stasis, possibly of their own making — and the slow-burning, creeping unease of someone struggling with their own role with their misery. Hell is often other people; but hell can be your own mind, too.

Along with the record, which is slated for a June 18, 2021 release through [PIAS] Recordings, the band will be releasing each single with a corresponding live session to be compiled and released as a live film. The band’s latest live session features the anxious “Satantango” and “Surgery.” Featuring the members of Whispering Sons in a circle, the frenetically shot visual easily captures the musical connection and conversations between each member, while allowing Kuppens and company to stomp about freely. Towards the end of the footage, Kuppens looks directly into the camera — and through the viewer, as though offering both intimate connection and a condemnation of herself and the viewer.

New Audio: Two from Acclaimed Belgian Post Punk Act Whispering Sons

Initially started in 2013 as a hobby for its then Leuven, Belgium-based founding members Kobe Linjen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Lander Paesan (bass) and Sander Pelsmaekers (drums), the rising Brussels-based post punk act Whispering Sons have evolved a great deal. As the story goes, in search of a singer they recruited Fenne Kuppens, who at that point had been uploading covers of bands like Slowdive to Soundcloud. Already fostering deep ambition, she rigorously prepared. “I’d always wanted to sing in a band, but I never had friends who made music, they weren’t in my surroundings,” Kuppens recalls in press notes. “They were talking about this post-punk thing that I’d never heard of before, so I had to read into it. I could see myself in it, I felt the music.”

Leuven is a quiet, European university town and its mainstream-leaning music scene didn’t connect with Kuppens. But after a year studying abroad in Prague, where she immersed herself in the city’s DIY scene, Kuppens was galvanized — and inspired. “I made friends there who did things with their lives! There was a guy who had a DIY record label and who made music, all from his bedroom. I thought, if they can do this, why can’t we at least try?” Kuppens recalls. As soon as she returned, she relocated to Brussels. The remaining members of the band — Linjin, Hermans, Pelsmaekers and Paesan — later joined her. And immediately, the band quickly began honing their live show and sound.

Inspired by Xiu Xiu and Chinawoman, Kuppens distinctive, low register vocal style emerged early. “I started to feel more comfortable on stage, to express myself more rather than just singing a song,” she says. “I started feeling the music more, identifying more with the sounds and what I was doing.” Kuppens stage presence became known for being transfixing and trancelike, defined by compulsive and movements. “People have said it looks like I’m fighting my demons onstage, I guess there’s some truth in that,” she says.

During the summer of 2015, the band went into the studio to record material. “Fenne was really pushing us saying ‘We have to go for it, not just make another demo,” Whispering Sons’ Kobe Linjen recalls in press notes. The result was their goth-inspired debut EP, 2015’s Endless Party EP. Just a few months after its initial release through Wool-E-Tapes, the Brussels-based post-punk act won Humo’s Rock Rally, one of Belgium’s most prestigious music competitions. With the increased attention and accolades came bigger shows, bigger tours across Europe and larger crowds. “People started to expect things from us. We had to adapt quickly,” Linjen adds.

With the demands of a growing profile, the band began setting new, more ambitions targets for themselves. While writing new material for the increasingly longer sets their increased status required, they began to grow tired of the limits of post-punk and eagerly sought ways to push past them as much as possible. “We wanted to evolve, we wanted to attract larger audiences and not just play in one scene,” Kobe continues.

The Belgian post-punk quintet released two 7 inches, 2016’s “Performance”/”Strange Identities” and 2017’s “White Noise” — while going through a lineup change: the band’s friend Tuur Vanderborne replaced Paesan on bass. The band’s Micha Volders and Bert Vliegen-produced 2018 full-length debut Image was released through Cleopatra Records here in the States and Smile Records throughout the rest of the world. Recorded over a ten day period at Waimes, Belgium’s GAM Studios, Image found the band crafting a dark, brooding blend of experimental and frenetic post-punk that expressed the alienation, loneliness and anxiety that each individual member felt when they relocated to Brussels, Belgium’s largest city.

Image garnered praise from music press across the globe — and it amassed millions of streams across digital service providers. Before pandemic-related quarantines, lockdowns and restrictions, the Brussels-based post punk quintet was establishing themselves for a ferocious, must-see live show while sharing stages with the likes of The Murder Capital, Patti Smith, The Soft Moon, Croatian Armor and Editors. “We were very happy with Image, and at that point it was the best thing we could have made,” Fenne Kuppens says. “But from the moment we finished it we started to look at it in a critical way. ‘This is something we should do again. This is something we don’t like.’ So very quickly we found the direction we wanted to go in for the next album.”

Last summer, the members of Whispering Sons retreated to the Ardennes to work on new material. And in those writing sessions, the band took what they believed were the strongest part of their earliest work and refined them even further, with a focus on their greatest strength — sheer, unpretentious intensity. “We tried to create an album that’s more direct and more dynamic. More in your face,” Kuppens says.

Interestingly, Kuppens can trace the origins of the lyrics for the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Several Others from one sentence she’d scribbled in a notebook “Always be someone else instead of yourself.” “It’s terrible advice,” Kuppens says in press notes. “But it resonated with me and my personal ambitions.” She stared writing about her uncompromising perfectionism that although was partly responsible for the band’s initial success, was becoming stifling and overwhelming. “I was at a stage where it was becoming unhealthy. You always think things have to be better, that you can always do more.”

Recently, the band released two companion singles “Satantango” and “Surgery” off the forthcoming single. Both tracks see the band ambitiously pushing the ferocious and dirvintensity that helped win them international attention to the limits — while somehow delicately balancing fragility and vulnerability. Centered around anxious and propulsive instrumentation, both songs evokes unease of someone hopelessly trapped in stasis, possibly of their own making — and the slow-burning, creeping unease of someone struggling with their own role with their misery. Hell is often other people; but hell can be your own mind, too.

Along with the record, which is slated for a June 18, 2021 release through [PIAS] Recordings, the band will be releasing each single with a corresponding live session to be compiled and released as a live film.

New Video: The Black Fever’s Old-Timey Visual for “Marketing”

With the release of 2010’s Romanticism, 2012’s Revisionist, 2014’s A Little Help EP and 2015’s Midnight Century, the Toronto-based post-punk act The Black Fever — Shoe (vocals, guitar), Pat Bramm (bass, backing vocals) and Dan Purpura (drums) — have firmly established a sleek and propulsive take on post punk that focuses on melody and concise songwriting.  

Recorded over two intense and breakneck recording sessions, their Ian Gomes-produced EP Unarticulated Wants was released earlier this year, and the EP’s first single is the hook-driven, Editors meets Radio 4-like “Marketing.” Centered around a propulsive and angular bass line, thunderous drumming and Shoe’s plaintive vocals, the track seethes with frustration over the fact that every single moment of daily life is inundated with advertisements. It’s inescapable and oppressive manipulation to convince you to spend early and often on that new shiny thing that will make you more attractive and more interesting to others, that will help you lose weight, restore your receding hair line, keep your erection, and just make you feel whole. And yet, there’s a gnawing emptiness that can’t be resolved by possessions or by spending. 

“We need to find a better balance between ads and public art — for art’s sake.” the band said in an emailed statement. Naturally, the song expresses a concern over what the over saturation of advertising and marketing messages does to the human soul and mind. 

The recently released video for “Marketing” is centered around incredibly manipulative stock footage of old commercials. Although the context for each commercial has been removed, each commercial is meant to make you feel something — envy, pleasure, lust. hunger, despair, all in the desperate attempt to get you to buy right now. And it should feel infuriating and fucked up. 

Lyric Video: White Lies Returns with an Anthemic Arena Rock Friendly Single to Close Out 2019

Over the past 12-15 months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the London-based post-punk act White Lies, and as you may recall the act, which is primarily centered around its core and founding trio — Harry McVeigh (vocals, guitar), Charles Cave (bass, vocals) and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums) — can trace their origins to a band they started while in high school, called Fear of Flying. Although Charles Cave has publicly described Fear of Flying as a “weekend project,” and one of many bands each of the individual members were involved in at the time, Fear of Flying released two Stephen Street-produced double A-side singles released through Young and Lost Club Records.

Building upon the initial buzz surrounding them, Fear of Flying earned opening slots for nationally acclaimed acts like The Maccabees, Jamie T, and Laura Marling. Along with completing one UK tour as an opener, they also played the inaugural Underage Festival. Two weeks before the trio were to start college, they decided that they would take a second gap year and perform new material, which the trio felt didn’t suit their current project. “I felt as though i couldn’t write about anything personal, so I would make up semi-comical stories that weren’t really important to anyone, not even me,” Charles Cave reflected on that period. Fear of Flying broke up in 2007 with a MySpace status that read “Fear of Flying is DEAD . . . White Lies is alive!,” before introducing a new name that the trio felt better represented their newfound maturity — and a much darker sound.

Officially forming in October 2007, the members of the then-newly formed White Lies delayed their first live shows for five months to build up media hype. And as the story goes, a few days after their live debut, the band signed with Fiction Records, who released the band’s first two singles — “Unfinished Business” and “Death,” which quickly drew comparisons to Joy Division, Editors, The Killers and Interpol. And as a result of the attention their first two White Lies singles earned, the trio wound up touring across the UK and North America, including a headlining BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend Festival set, a slot on 2009’s NME Awards tour, as well as a number of appearances across the international festival circuit.

2009 saw the release of the act’s breakthrough, full-length debut To Lose My Life, which was released on the heels of being prominently featured in multiple “ones to watch” polls for that year, including BBC’s Sound of 2009 poll and the BRIT Critics’ Choice Award. Interestingly, the album earned them the distinction of being the first British act that year to land a nubmer one album on the British Charts — and the first album to debut at number one that year. 

The band’s third album, 2013’s well-received and commercially successful, Ed Bueller-produced Big TV, an album that debuted at #4 on the UK Charts. Interestingly, the album thematically follows a couple, who leave a provincial area for a big city while touching upon the theme of equality within a romanic relationship. Album single “Getting Even” managed to land at #1 on the Polish Singles Charts. 

FIVE, the London-based post-punk trio’s aptly titled with album was released earlier this year through [PIAS] Recordings, and the album manages to find the band deftly balancing an ambitious arena rock friendly sound with enormous hooks and bombast for days with intimate, singer/songwriter pop lyricism that’s earnest and comes from a deeply familiar, lived-in place. Album singles “Time to Give,” “Tokyo” “Jo” and “Believe It” all describe longtime relationships on the brink of collapse or suffering through one or both parties’ dysfunction, complete with the ambivalence, uncertainty and confusion that relationships often entail — paired with some of the biggest, anthemic hooks I’ve heard all year. The album continued a run of commercially successful albums from the band, as it landed on the Top Fifteen of the UK Charts. 

White Lies has been busy touring throughout 2019 to support FIVE, including a stop at Irving Plaza earlier this year. During a hiatus from touring, the trio along with producer Andrew Wells went into the studio to record new material, including their latest single “Hurt My Heart.” Interestingly, the track sounds as though it could have been recorded during the FIVE sessions as it prominently features enormous arena rock friendly hooks, thunderous drumming, an earnest vocal performance from the band’s Harry McVeigh. and a blistering guitar solo. But unlike the material off FIVE, the new single focuses on the emotional aftermath of a breakup. 

“For ten years we have stayed loyal to the album format – only sitting down to write and then record when it was time for a new complete work,” the band’s primary lyricist and bassist Charles Cave explains in press notes. “Whilst there is a lot of love about that process, it is something of an endurance exercise. We decided it was about time to see what happened if we just wrote a few things with the idea to release music disconnected from an LP; something that could sit within the same universe as Five.”

New Video: The Soft Calvary Releases a Charming Visual Meditation on Devotion

Over the course of this past year, I’ve written quite a bit about The Soft Calvary, a new shoegaze project formed by husband and wife duo Steve Clarke and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell. Now, as you may recall, the duo’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a July 5, 2019 release through Bella Union Records. And interestingly enough, for the duo’s Steve Clarke, the album is equal parts labor of love and long-held dream finally realized, as well as the first album that he has masterminded from start to finish — with the assistance of his wife and his brother, Michael, who produced the album. 

The album’s material reportedly is inspired by and radiates both midlife crisis and elation. Essentially, the album is the sigh of finally finding real contentment and peace after living a messy life, full of heartache, bitterness and confusion. As Clarke emphasizes in press notes, the album was an album that he “needed” to make, as it can also be seen as a way of rewriting his own narrative: Divorced in 2011, Clarke admittedly spent the next three years in a haze. He had played bass and sung backing vocals in bands as a session musician and as a touring member since the late 90s, while also working as a tour manager.

Coincidentally, at one point, he began working as a tour manager for the reunited Slowdive. “I was hungover in the back of my van trying to work out how I was going to fit all the band’s gear into this confined space whilst I still had all of mine from the show that I’d played in London the night before,” Clarke recalls in press notes. “The second of two sold-out shows at Hammersmith Apollo with David Brent!” Coincidentally, that same day Clarke was introduced to Goswell. A year later, they were living together in Devon, before marrying last year. Rachel not only turned his world “upside-down,” as he recalls, she also unwittingly produced “the catalyst” for the new project. “I’d always had ideas but never felt that anything I had to say was worthy of anyone’s attention, let alone my own,” he says in press notes. “I wish that I could have done this fifteen years ago but, in reality, I simply couldn’t have. But I’m not one to overly wallow. I’d rather plough the various levels of confusion into songs.”

The album in many ways is an exercise in creative and personal therapy. The first songs Clarke wrote specifically for the album are Goswell-inspired paeans to fate, love, new beginnings and hope. But as he began to open up, the past found a way to seep in — the years of frustration, confusion, anxiety, heartache. If there’s a theme to the material, reckons Steve, “it’s recovery versus new doubt. I’m there, in the middle. The word that kept coming back to me was ‘resilience.’ With the right mentality and people around you, especially family, we get through and find a level of hope.”

The writing sessions were in some way an extended conversation between the couple. Clarke, as Goswell says “is always writing, his head always full of lyrics.” Goswell, as Clarke says “reins me in when I get obsessed. She’s a good editor. She says my songs can still work without sections of words, that leaving spaces is OK.” As Clarke began to assemble songs, he invited a handful of dear friends including Mercury Rev‘s and Midlake‘s Jesse Chandler (keys), Tom Livermore (guitar) to assist with the album’s overall sound and tone. “I’d grown up with guitar bands and I didn’t want it to be overly guitar-y,” Clarke says. “We evolved things by trying out ideas. We’d be build things up, and then stripe them back and build them again.”

Interestingly, as the album progressed Goswell formed Minor Victories with members of Mogwai and Editors while all of those bands had gaps in their schedules, eventually writing and recording an album, which Goswell and Clarke contributed vocals and lyrics for. “It got the cogs turning on a writing and lyrical level, and gave me a certain amount of self-belief,” Clarke recalls.

After completing their album together, Clarke found a name for the band and the album, seemingly out of thin air — The Soft Calvary. “I can’t explain its literal meaning,” he says. “It just made sense.” Might Rachel be the calvary? “Maybe! it would be subconscious, but that makes sense too, strangely.”

The self-titled debut’s first single “Dive” was centered around towering layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive backbeat paired with the duo’s gorgeous dual harmonies. And while being one part deeply contented sigh, one part sweet, romantic swoon there’s a creeping sense and tacit acknowledgement that such a wondrous dream will fade. The album’s second and latest single “Bulletproof” found Goswell and Clarke pairing their ethereal harmonies with shimmering guitar lines, a soaring hook and propulsive, electro pop-like beats, which gives the song a subtle, dance floor friendly vibe. The album’s third and latest single is the breezy love song “Never Be Without You.” Centered around a soaring hook, jangling guitars and Clarke’s plaintive vocals, the song is an ethereal and tender expression of devotion and fidelity within a finite period of time. And in a cynical and superficial age, such an expression of devotion is both earnest and charming. 

Speaking of charming, the recently released animated visual introduces the viewer to two hat-wearing creatures, who dimly resemble Goswell and Clarke and their forest world full of amazing creatures. The hat wearing creatures’ have wild adventures — but they’re always faithfully together. When the world is running to shit, sometimes we need some sweetness and beauty. 

New Video: The Soft Calvary Releases a Hearing Impaired Friendly Visual for New Single “Bulletproof”

Earlier this year, I wrote about The Soft Calvary, a new shoegaze project formed by husband and wife duo Steve Clarke and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, and their self-titled, full-length is slated for a July 5, 2019 release through Bella Union Records. Interestingly, for The Soft Calvary’s Steve Clarke, the album is equal parts labor of love and long-held dream finally realized — and perhaps more important, the first album that he has masterminded from start to finish with the assistance of his wife and his brother Michael, who produced the album.

Reportedly, the album’s material comes from and radiates both midlife crisis and elation — particularly, the sigh of finally finding real contentment and peace after living a messy life, full of heartache and confusion. And as Clarke emphasizes in press notes, an album that he “needed” to make, as it can also be seen as a way of rewriting his own narrative: Divorced in 2011, Clarke admittedly spent the next three years in a haze. He had played bass and sung backing vocals in bands as a session musician and as a touring member since the late 90s, while also working as a tour manager.

At one point, he began working as a tour manager for the reunited Slowdive. “I was hungover in the back of my van trying to work out how I was going to fit all the band’s gear into this confined space whilst I still had all of mine from the show that I’d played in London the night before,” Clarke recalls in press notes. “The second of two sold-out shows at Hammersmith Apollo with David Brent!” Coincidentally, that same day Clarke was introduced to Goswell. A year later, they were living together in Devon, before marrying last year. Rachel not only turned his world “upside-down,” as he recalls, she also unwittingly produced “the catalyst” for the new project. “I’d always had ideas but never felt that anything I had to say was worthy of anyone’s attention, let alone my own,” he says in press notes. “I wish that I could have done this fifteen years ago but, in reality, I simply couldn’t have. But I’m not one to overly wallow. I’d rather plough the various levels of confusion into songs.”

The album in many ways is an exercise in creative and personal therapy. The first songs Clarke wrote specifically for the album are Goswell-inspired paeans to fate, love, new beginnings and hope. But as he began to open up, the past found a way to seep in — the years of frustration, confusion, anxiety, heartache. If there’s a theme to the material, reckons Steve, “it’s recovery versus new doubt. I’m there, in the middle. The word that kept coming back to me was ‘resilience.’ With the right mentality and people around you, especially family, we get through and find a level of hope.”

The writing sessions were in some way an extended conversation between the couple. Clarke, as Goswell says “is always writing, his head always full of lyrics.” Goswell, as Clarke says “reins me in when I get obsessed. She’s a good editor. She says my songs can still work without sections of words, that leaving spaces is OK.” As Clarke began to assemble songs, he invited a handful of dear friends including Mercury Rev‘s and Midlake‘s Jesse Chandler (keys), Tom Livermore (guitar) to assist with the album’s overall sound and tone. “I’d grown up with guitar bands and I didn’t want it to be overly guitar-y,” Clarke says. “We evolved things by trying out ideas. We’d be build things up, and then stripe them back and build them again.”

Interestingly, as the album progressed Goswell formed Minor Victories with members of Mogwai and Editors while all of those bands had gaps in their schedules, eventually writing and recording an album, which Goswell and Clarke contributed vocals and lyrics for. “It got the cogs turning on a writing and lyrical level, and gave me a certain amount of self-belief,” Clarke recalls.

After completing their album together, Clarke found a name for the band and the album, seemingly out of thin air — The Soft Calvary. “I can’t explain its literal meaning,” he says. “It just made sense.” Might Rachel be the calvary? “Maybe! it would be subconscious, but that makes sense too, strangely.”

Now, as you may recall, Goswell and Clarke’s full-length debut’s first single “Dive” was centered around towering layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive backbeat paired with the duo’s gorgeous dual harmonies. And while being one part deeply contented sigh, one part sweet, romantic swoon there’s a creeping sense and tacit acknowledgement that such a wondrous dream will fade. The album’s second and latest single finds Goswell and Clarke pairing their ethereal harmonies with shimmering guitar lines, a soaring hook and propulsive, electro pop-like beats, which gives the song a subtle, dance floor friendly vibe. And much like its predecessor, the song ‘s narrator expresses a deep unsettling sense of doubt — the sort of doubt that comes from a lived-in, messy life with its regrets, mistakes and triumphs but there’s an underlying sense of hope, that this time it’ll be different. 

The recently released video features Clarke and Goswell dressed in black, standing in front of a black background: Clarke sings the song’s lyrics while Goswell uses British Sign Language to sign the song’s lyrics. “For a long time now I have wanted to do a video that incorporates BSL (British Sign Language) due to my son being Profoundly Deaf with no hearing. He also has additional needs with CHARGE Syndrome that brings many added complications,” Goswell explains. I live within two worlds both Hearing and Deaf; and have learned alot in the last nine years about the many barriers Deaf people can face in our society. One of the main points I was taught very quickly is how music is accessible to Deaf people. Of course music can be felt through vibration but visually I feel so much more could be done to enhance the experience. We made this video with the support of Sign Up BSL to translate ‘Bulletproof’ so that the song flows properly in BSL. Sometimes with signing videos – they can be a literal translation of the words (Sign Supported English) which will make little sense to the Deaf viewer. Our hope is that we have achieved this and also that one day as my son gets older and develops his language skills he will be able to understand this song.”

New Video: The Soft Cavalry Releases a Meditative and Cinematic Visual for Swooning and Slow-burning Album Single “Dive”

Formed by husband and wife duo Steve Clarke and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, The Soft Calvary is a new project, and their self-titled full-length debuts slated for a July 5, 2019 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records. For Clarke, the album is equal parts labor of love and long-held dream finally realized — and perhaps more important, the first album that he has masterminded from start to finish with the assistance of his wife and his brother Michael, who produced the album.

Reportedly, the album’s material radiates both midlife crisis and elation — the sigh of finally finding real contentment and peace after living a messy life, full of heartache and confusion. And as Clarke emphasizes in press notes, an album that he “needed” to make, as it can also be seen as a way of rewriting his own narrative: Divorced in 2011, Clarke admittedly spent the next three years in a haze. He had played bass and sung backing vocals in bands as a session musician and as a touring member since the late 90s, while also working as a tour manager.

At one point, he began working as a tour manager for the reunited Slowdive. “I was hungover in the back of my van trying to work out how I was going to fit all the band’s gear into this confined space whilst I still had all of mine from the show that I’d played in London the night before,” Clarke recalls in press notes. “The second of two sold-out shows at Hammersmith Apollo with David Brent!” Coincidentally, that same day Clarke was introduced to Goswell. A year later, they were living together in Devon, before marrying last year. Rachel not only turned his world “upside-down,” as he recalls, she also unwittingly produced “the catalyst” for the new project. “I’d always had ideas but never felt that anything I had to say was worthy of anyone’s attention, let alone my own,” he says in press notes. “I wish that I could have done this fifteen years ago but, in reality, I simply couldn’t have. But I’m not one to overly wallow. I’d rather plough the various levels of confusion into songs.”

The album in many ways is an exercise in creative and personal therapy. The first songs Clarke wrote specifically for the album are Goswell-inspired paeans to fate, love, new beginnings and hope. But as he began to open up, the past found a way to seep in — the years of frustration, confusion, anxiety, heartache. If there’s a theme to the material, reckons Steve, “it’s recovery versus new doubt. I’m there, in the middle. The word that kept coming back to me was ‘resilience.’ With the right mentality and people around you, especially family, we get through and find a level of hope.”

Interestingly, the writing sessions were in some way an extended conversation between the couple. Clarke, as Goswell says “is always writing, his head always full of lyrics.” Goswell, as Clarke says “reins me in when I get obsessed. She’s a good editor. She says my songs can still work without sections of words, that leaving spaces is OK.” As Clarke began to assemble songs, he invited a handful of dear friends including Mercury Rev‘s and Midlake‘s Jesse Chandler (keys), Tom Livermore (guitar) to assist with the album’s overall sound and tone. “I’d grown up with guitar bands and I didn’t want it to be overly guitar-y,” Clarke says. “We evolved things by trying out ideas. We’d be build things up, and then stripe them back and build them again.”

Interestingly, as the album progressed Goswell formed Minor Victorieswith members of Mogwai and Editors while all of those bands had gaps in their schedules, eventually writing and recording an album, which Goswell and Clarke contributed vocals and lyrics for. “It got the cogs turning on a writing and lyrical level, and gave me a certain amount of self-belief,” Clarke recalls.

After completing their album together, Clarke found a name for the band and the album, seemingly out of thin air — The Soft Calvary. “I can’t explain its literal meaning,” he says. “It just made sense.” Might Rachel be the calvary? “Maybe! it would be subconscious, but that makes sense too, strangely.”

The album’s first single is the cinematic yet ethereal “Dive.” Centered around towering layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive backbeat and Clarke and Goswell’s gorgeous harmonies, the track is one part contented sigh, one part sweetly, romantic swoon — but underneath all of that is a creeping sense of everything being a fleeting dream. “How long will this wondrous dream last?”  

Directed by Handheldcineclub, the recently released video is a meditative and lyrical experience that follows a middle-aged man, as he arrives at his local pool. He changes his clothes and heads to the pool. We see his as he climbs up the stairs of the pool’s Olympic-sized diving pool and as he approaches the third level, the man becomes visibly uncertain and by the time he reaches the diving board, he’s terrified — to the point that he eventually climbs down, appearing self-conscious and foolish. After seeing a fellow swimmer successfully dive, we see our protagonist with a newly acquired bravely, climbing up the stairs and about to dive off the board. While literal in some sense, the video suggests that sometimes we need to be inspired and gently pushed out of out comfort zones to take leaps of faith.