Sophie is actually not recording her 5th album (including theaudience), but actually her 6th. Her original second album with theaudience was unreleased. I call it QUIET STORM...
theaudience - Quiet Storm - Read My Lips - Shoot From The Hip - Trip The Light Fantastic - 6th studio album (in process)
When theaudience were recording their second album, they didn't have Billy with them in the studio. In fact, he didn't contribute to lyrics on any of the songs either, except two or three older songs which he had written which they recorded. The band were on the verge of losing their contract, so they decided to convince their label by coming up with some really catchy pop tunes instead of experimental intelligent indie songs. Their self titled debut album saw a band which was grammatically correct, flaunting songs about glory, alcohol and the mundanity of life. But the second album, in terms of sound, took a whole different direction. Britpop is the sound the adopted, catchy tunes and modern sounds. The band still wrote "intelligent lyrics" (i'm always going to keep saying this, cos when i compare theaudience's lyrics to that of other artists, i see a difference. Everything is so metaphorical, so deep, there always a phrase or two in each song which you use you would in a regular conversation, but you wouldn't really think of putting it into a song. And even though most of the songs come out of personal experiences of the band members, you can see that its concealed quite well behind Sophie's icy delivery!)
So as i was saying, brilliant work. The lyrics, the sound, the melody. Everything is very nice. Ten years ago this was recorded, but its still is so fresh. That just goes to show that the band were way ahead of their time. Had this been released back then, maybe the band would have survived the split and Billy would have rejoined the band (this is my guess, its not real information).
The Greatest Gift, Day And Night, How It Should Be Done, Repetition Kills, King Of Action, Headcase, You Will Do For Now are all tracks which can rock out a show if they performed it live. But you should know, these are only demos. There would have been changes if the songs were to be released, and they would sound so much clearer and sexier!! You'll notice that the guys have done a lot of backing vocals on most of the songs.
Anyway, I made this tracklist, cos the flow of the songs is good this way
1. The Greatest Gift (Mollett/Butler/Ellis-Bextor)
2. How It Should Be Done (Mollett/Butler)
3. Day And Night (Butler/Mollett/Ellis-Bextor)
4. Headcase (Butler/Hedgens/Hannon)
5. Out With The Old School (Mollett/Smith)
6. The Fool Will Rise Again (Mollett/Butler)
7. So Clever (Boyd/Ellis-Bextor/Ross)
8. Twiligt Of The Teenage (Boyd/Ellis-Bextor/Ross)
9. Grey With Dusty Rain (Butler/Mollett)
10. You Will Do For Now (Ellis-Bextor)
11. King Of Action (Mollett/Butler)
12. Repetition Kills (Butler)
13. Two Way (Mollett)
14. Sanctuary Hill (Butler/Hannon/Smith)
The Fool Will Rise Again is definitely a cool track. Its got a cool attitude. And Sophie's dry icy delivery is perfect for a song with that much attitude. Cleverly written, and they decided to keep the instrumentation simple - very clever! The song, by itself speaks a lot, you wouldn't want to overdo it, now, would you..
Then there's Grey With Dusty Rain, the most experimental song on this album, the I Got The Wherewithal of album #2. Why am i saying this? Sampled drumbeat. Looped vocals. Amazing production. Sophie sounds superb on this song. Heck, if i could tell her, i would ask her to re-record this for one of her albums in the future, its single material! And its a song about a relationship with a drug addict! Lol, where the hell do they come up with lyrics that are so bizzare that they don't even hint what its about and keep the mystery running in your mind, till you go mad discovering what it is all about!
Out With The Old School is also an amazing tune. This is the only song that actually got an official release 10 years ago, from all the 33 songs that were recorded for the album. Its about a breakup. Dark, emotional, and also has a bit of dark humour. But its all well concealed behind a light-hearted melody and Sophie's crisp vocals. Cleverly arranged background music, with no harsh sounds make the song sound more like a sarcastic joke about missing a loved one! Brilliant!!
The Greatest Gift is a rock tune. Again a song about a relationship. "I will be the complication in your plan" - very tongue-in-cheek. Sophie's vocals have improved over the years, but if you listen to this song, concentrating carefully on just Sophie's vocals, it seems like its a small girl singing this.. Cute. There's one downer in the song though. There's a line in the song which goes "the look in your eyes is a sight for all the others to see" but originally, it was "the look in your eyes is a sight for all the suckers to see", but Sophie changed it cos she felt it was too strong. I wonder why?! She was quite a bitch when she was in the band, and it wouldn't really have upset her image, cos she was just fronting an indie band. Anyway, i would have loved to hear the original lyrics. It's better off that way.
How It Should Be Done is amazing!! Probably the 3rd best track. Its got simpler lyrics, a very simple melody, and the instrumentation is just perfect. Good use of the guitars. Its an almost-perfect song, i think this would have sounded brilliant if it was finalised.
Day And Night, is pop genius!! A love song basically, with a touching melody. The production on the song is simply superb! It has a fade ending though. Thats one thing you will notice on quite a few songs on this album. I didn't expect that. I find it quite odd for theaudience to fade out their songs. They were masters at ending songs perfectly, if you listen to their debut album, you'll see what i mean. Their instrumentation was always superb!!
King Of Action is the first song where the keyboards are more evident. Its the Running Out Of Space on this album. But its a whole lot longer than that song. Its a brash piece, but the sound suits the lyrics. Its got a difficult melody, but it catches on after a few spins.
Two Way is the only song which took the longest time to grow onto me. The problem (which is not so much of a problem anymore) is probably the chorus. The melody of the song has such a beautiful flow through the verses and the bridge. Then suddenly the chorus snaps in and you're like "whoa".. But its actually very very good. If you keep listening to it, you'll actually fall in love with the song, its very cleverly written. Its a song about frustration about departure (i'm screaming a hint.. ahem cough cough). Again here, the lyrics were supposed to be:
"Not pleased with the lot you've been given
but you make it clear you're on the hunt
for new talent, and that Jesus loves you,
but everyone else thinks you're a cunt"
but Sophie changed it to:
"Not pleased with the lot you've been given
You make it clear you've got the eye
For talent, and that Jesus loves you
but wolf is to easy to cry"
Both the lyrics are fine, i wish we could have them both on the song, cos i can't decide which version i would like better..
Headcase is a hardcore pop tune. Its very tongue-in-cheek. Sophie's vocals are screechy in this. Not something that she would be proud of now, for sure. But its still a nice song. I think the production on this song is bad, especially with the tambourine and the cymbals. They're overlapping the word "headcase" on the song, and its very jarring to the ears. That apart, the rest of the song is good. Good use of keyboards.
You Will Do For Now is one of the two songs which has this Manic Street Preachers sound to it. If you've heard their songs, you'll know what i mean. Is that an organ they're using on the song!? It's got this psychedelic vibe to it. I want to keep listening to the track forever. The guitars are brilliant!!
Twilight Of The Teenage got me to think (and i still keep thinking) what the hell it is all about. It sounds delicious enough to eat, but i have no clue what its about. So i'm not going to comment, except that the production on the song could have been better. But its a demo, so maybe they had plans of changing the sound later.
Repetition Kills is the second Manic's influenced song. The chorus is what made me decide that they must have been inspired by the Manics. I swear i can hear James Dean when they go "repetition kiiiillss". So Manic's.... Brilliant production. Brilliant lyrics. Who the hell would have used "cul de sac" on a song except them!? Sophie sounds ace
So Clever is a love song. Its a rough demo with hard beats. A small filler of a track..
Sanctuary Hill is actually a very good song. I underrated this initially. Probably because Sophie's vocals were too difficult to listen to. But it has grown on me now. Its got brilliant lyrics. But there's some instrument on the chorus which upsets me. Its a keyboard generated sound which i'm not really too impressed with. Maybe they tried to experiment with it. Sounds like the processed sound of bells ringing..
In all, i think the album is beyond amazing!! I wish it would have gotten a release back then. It would have definitely done really well on the charts! Good work guys!! Really good work, all of you - Nyge, Dean, Kerin and Patch... oh and i forgot. Sophie started with some co-writing on this album. Kudos! Of course, the songs wouldn't sound this good without her voice on it. So equal credit goes to her as well....
P.S. - If anyone wants these in HQ mp3, leave a request in the comment section
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