British alt rock troubadour Matt Finucane recently sat down with GBHBL to talk about his latest record, providing us with a track by track breakdown of new album “Vanishing Island”.
War on Pain
This one’s about addiction. So, it fades in slyly, then takes off as euphoria kicks in… Then dissolves back into the fog like an uneasy feeling that’ll come around again, sure as nightfall.
It’s about the urge to avoid confrontation at all costs. It also came from taking up Krav Maga – the matter-of-fact violence of it, the bludgeoning rhythm. Any excuse to scream loud.
There was this mountain of cloud, lit up like something on the cover of an old horror paperback, hanging in the middle of the sky as if it was watching me… The image persisted – seemed like a good time to break out the electronics.
Looking for a Genius
We’re all looking for answers, aren’t we? I wanted to express this, wrapped in something loose and colourful and airy.
I once had an idea for a live show at the Brighton Fringe Festival but couldn’t work out how to do it without somebody getting killed. Robert Graves wrote about the bardic tradition in ancient Britain, whereas a final test in druid school, the applicant would compose a poem while spending the night in a coffin full of ice water or sitting in a chair balanced on the edge of a cliff. So, I thought, get a load of poets and dunk them, then listen to what they’d managed to come up with afterwards, if they were still alive.
This turned into a song, which got scrapped. A few fragments of lyric carried over to this number, which is one of the most upbeat things I’ve written, full of rustic revelry masking a creeping dread.
I go to a free improvisation music night in Brighton called Safehouse, which keeps me musically flexible. I came up with a feedback riff one night that sparked off the track you hear – the lyrics are equally abstract, with a reference to passing the collection plate round, Pledgemusic, Patreon etc.
Pretty self-explanatory, this one, although it surprised me by turning out like the theme-tune to some spacey European cartoon from the 80s.
Yr Own Way
It’s a tough row to hoe, but it’s got to be done – you’ve got to go your own way, somehow, or be as nothing: a harsh doctrine set to harsh music. The lo-fi breakbeat just seemed to fit the mood.
Another one suggested by Safehouse, but rigidly chord-based and the opposite of free-form. The words are harnessed to some thundering drum loops and guitar noise, a total krautrock throb.
I was into found sounds for a while and thought about doing an album of breaking twigs and banging on the walls of various rooms – just that and the vocals, playing a space instead of an instrument. Anyway, I came to my senses, but still wanted to do something big sounding, suggesting that space (some kind of prehistoric cave maybe). There’s a few found sounds on the album, mostly buried quite deep, but here you can clearly make out the masts of some boats I recorded on my phone one night, heading home along the seafront after a gig. In effect, it closes the loop started by the first track… so now you can relax.
Vanishing Island is available now. For more information on Matt head over to his website here.