For those of you with good memories, you might recall that I featured Happy Particles as one of my Ones To Watch in 2011. At that time I had heard that their album was completed and I imagined that they'd be snapped up in no time. Then again things don't always turn out as you expect. In a world filled with landfill indie, I can't help but feel disappointed that their stunning debut album wasn't snapped up by an established indie label. So on Christmas Day, as you stuffed your faces and drank to excess (or was that just me), Happy Particles unleashed Under Sleeping Waves to the world. As a wee introduction to the album, I asked Steven Kane from the band to talk us through the last great album of 2011...
Aerials is a kind of hymn to latchkey children. It's a celebration of the drama you can find in the mundane, like the worlds children create for themselves when they are left to there own devices. One of my favourite films of all time is 'Ratcatcher' by Lynne Ramsay, this song definitely lives in that kind of world. There is also stuff in there about the warped nature of our memories which can lead to nostalgia about times which in fact were either pretty tedious or bleak. We have a full band version of this we are going to record but this versions' more minimal style seemed to suit the album better, also I couldn't resist opening the album with something so formless.
2. Infinite Jet.
This is our X-factor version of shoe-gaze, I say that with only a hint of irony. It's definitely the most poppy song on the record. Musically it's an attempt to cram as much melody and syncopation into a song as possible and then start blurring it all with ambience. Cheekily it has some of the bleakest lyrics, a wee trojan horse. I have no idea what it's about, haha.
This one is about the decay of people who are destroying themselves and the people around them, cyclically over and over. And the clarity, calm and guilt after the madness. Pretty claustrophobic for such a pretty sounding song!
4. Guide-dogs of the inner cities.
This one has no badness in it. It's about perceptions and about trying not to hold onto yours so firmly if you want to be able to breathe, it's a difficult thing to do in practice. It continues a loose theme of the hidden people kicking around our cities no-one is taking any notice of, who don't really belong anywhere. If you listen close you can hear James singing the lower vocals on this, lovely.
5. Offline Contact
An attempt at writing a ballad about bitterness, about mindless, manipulative people. A song about Cunts.
This is basically the melody from Infinite Jet but spruced up a bit with some new counter melodies. A nice interlude to shift the pace of the album.
7. Come Home All Dead Ones.
I wrote it one night when i was kind of losing the plot and I felt a horrible presence of dread and paranoia in the flat I was in alone. Obviously this was psychological but at the time it felt impending and quasi spiritual. It's a simple idea of ghosts being non-malevolent that I find quite comforting. It's starts off with the most sparse arrangement on the record and ends with the busiest.
8. Empty Circle.
I'd like people to make up their own minds about what this one is about. To me it's about the important things we don't allow ourselves to say or give ourselves time to think about.
9. Classes In Silence.
This song actually started out with a drone I had made which is now at the end. I gave it to Graeme and he would write arrangements for it from the melodies from the drone, i would go over and sit in his kitchen and say, 'yes this is what it should be like', 'no this bit isn't quite right', I was pretty much saying yes from the outset though. I think i did that twice and one day he sent the finished thing to me and it just reduced me to tears. It's music to listen to when you are getting farther from earth. It's our David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti song.
10. A.M. Sky.
This is the oldest song on the record. I originally wrote it before I even knew some of the people in the band. It's from an actual event that happened but it's not really my story to tell, I took some images from that and blurred it so it wasn't recognisable, like those old polaroids you find in junk shops.
This outro bit reminds me of when you fall asleep watching t.v. and wake up and it's just static, hopefully not as cranky.
Under Sleeping Waves is available now for the bargain sum of £5 from Happy Particles Bandcamp page. It might well be the best five pounds you spend this Christmas.