LP : Black vinyl. Released 13th March 2020
Completing a compelling trilogy of albums since his late-flowering return to solo songwriting and singing six years ago, Ben Watt releases his 4th LP, "Storm Damage" on 31 January 2020, and with it a new sound and fervency.
"I needed a fresh approach," says Watt, 56. "The album came out of an intense period of personal anguish and political anger. Sometimes repeating yourself musically feels disrespectful to the sharpness of your feelings. You have to search for a new way to capture the energy."
Sonically the album forgoes the acclaimed twin-guitar approach of its two predecessors, and boldly shifts focus onto - in Watt's words - "a future-retro trio" of upright piano, double bass and hybrid acoustic-electronic drums, set against a half-lit backdrop of lone analogue synths, spiralling echo spins and impressionistic 'found sounds' adapted from online public-domain recording archives. Low's Alan Sparhawk makes a guest appearance on electric guitar and harmony vocal.
"I wanted a timeless-meets-modern live jam - the directness of an unadorned trio capturing the spirit; and the samples, synthetics and electronic boom capturing the psychological mood," he says. "I searched for one-off drones, spoken voices, feedback, urban recordings; not unlike the way I worked in the mid-nineties." (Watt largely produced Everything But The Girl's groundbreaking 1996 album "Walking Wounded", the subject of a recent 9.0 retrospective Pitchfork review and reissued on remastered vinyl this November.)
2. Summer Ghosts
3. Retreat To Find
4. Figures In The Landscape
5. Knife In The Drawer
7. Sunlight Follows The Night
9. You’ve Changed, I’ve Changed
10. Festival Song