This summer I’m releasing a new album called Sunrise. It’s an album of soft harmonies, acoustic guitars, pianos, flutes and trumpets. That’s not really much of a description though, so I thought I’d put together a short track-by-track guide…
1. Clouds Breaking
One of my favourite albums is ‘Hello Wave’ by Sweet Baboo, and I particlarly love the light instrumentals and long intros to some of the songs. As I wanted to make a light summer album, I thought I’d follow that sort of approach, rather than just have 10 consecutive songs with dense lyrics. I like to think that when the trumpets and flutes join half-way through it sounds a bit like sunshine breaking through clouds. I think Gorky’s ‘The Blue Trees’ does this effect much better though, with completely different instruments.
2. In The Hallway
The first song written for the album, and it took absolutely forever to finish! It’s about playing music with whichever instruments are lying around at the time, so it’s potentially a Sunny Intervals lo-fi manifesto! With the samba drums in the middle it sounds a little bit like a lo-fi spin on’I Got The Answer’ by The Magic Theatre. Anyway, it has three verses, three choruses, an extended middle section and still comes in at less than three minutes!
3. Coastal Blue
When the album was nearly finished, I felt it needed another fun, upbeat song early on. This is essentially me listing the Homebase or Dulux colour catalogue, except only colours they don’t have a copyright on, just in case they come after me. I really thought I could make the piano and floor tom drums intro sound as cool and daunting as ‘Lonely For You’ by Sam Dees, but inevitably it came out lo-fi and less stirring. It’s harder than it looks!
4. Say It First
I was trying to write a light summer album, and this is one of the most explicitly summery songs lyrically. It marks the first appearance in a song of my new cat, and is easily 45 seconds longer than it needs to be. I think the ending’s quite nice if you make it that far!
Another song that took ages to finish – it started as an upbeat, foot-tapper and ended up as a sad ballad. I realised once finished that it shares an unusual chord change with a very famous and possibly unfashionable 70s rock song, and it reminds me of being on holiday in Lisbon. To lighten it up, I’ve sprinkled it with bleepy noises from a £10 Casio keyboard.
6. The Hills
From a sad piano ballad to a sprawling, dischordant, time signature changing cacophany – backwards guitars, post-apocolyptic flutes, cowbells – it’s not for the faint-hearted! That’s an exaggeration of course, but there is a prominent pun in the chorus that could divide opinion. It might sound like a very lo-fi take on Friendly Fires.
7. Light Clouds
An instrumental break! Essentially a shorter version of the first song but with more pianos and flutes, and fewer acoustic guitars. Possibly my favourite track on the album, and used for this short trailer video.
8. Twenty-four Hours
One of the more conventional indiepop songs on the album, and another explicitly summer-themed song. Not the summer of happy festivals and beach holidays that you’ll see in the adverts though, but more of the summer of missed opportunities sitting in work/college/public transport while summer rushes past too quickly. I wanted to start with some ‘Proof of Youth’ Go! Team style trumpets, but as always, it came out sounding nowhere like that in the end. This is another song that should easily have been 45 seconds shorter.
9. A Leaf Falling In Summer
I thought I’d write a really sad, minor key piano song. I might make all of the next record a totally piano album – it’ll be so much quicker and easier to record!
10. South Carolina
At the time I wrote this, it was the USA presidential primaries. I thought it would make a nice aide-memiore to write a song listing all the states that the parties’ nominees visit in the correct order. So starting in Iowa, then New Hampshire etc, with an anecdote for each state. As it turned out there were far too many states, I couldn’t make Vermont scan and the song doesn’t really help me remember the correct order. And I don’t even win the nomination…
A new recording of quite an old Sunny Intervals song. I love music but don’t always like dancing, and this song explains how that feels sometimes. Another outing for the trumpets!
The extended version of the two earlier songs with ‘Clouds’ in their name. Reminds me a bit of the Lemon Jelly song they use at the end of the second series of Spaced. And ending, as the album began, with some classic birdsong recordings.
Well done and thanks very much for reading this far!
I hope you enjoy the songs. The album’s available to download free or on cassette here:
Sunny Intervals – Sunrise