EXCLUSIVE! ‘The Rooks Have Returned’ by Land Lovers
We’ve got another full album for you to listen to in today’s exclusive, courtesy of Irish indie/dreampop outfit Land Lovers
This week’s second exclusive is once more an entire album, as Irish indie band Land Lovers kindly give Songwriting readers the first chance to hear their latest opus The Rooks Have Returned, which will be out on Monday. The band cite Elvis Costello, New Order and David Bowie as key influences, though listening to the album we’d be surprised if their wasn’t a fair bit of 80s indie in their record collections, too.
The Rooks Have Returned is either the second, third or fourth album from Land Lovers, depending how you look at it. The first album under that name, 2008’s Romance Romance, was essentially a solo effort by frontman Padraig Cooney; the first long-player from the five-piece band we know today was 2011’s Confidants. Since then, they’ve also released a split LP with Limerick-based band Windings – hence our counting confusion.
Now then, this is the bit where, normally, we give you a quote from the artist. But as Land Lovers have sent us, not a nifty little soundbite but instead a full track-by-track rundown, we should probably let you listen to the music first!
And now here’s what the band have to say about it. Take it away, Padraig…
Springtime For The Mystics: “This was a lot of fun to do in the studio. After laying down the guts of it live, we had time and the facilities to rustle up a bit of magic, using an old MiniMoog, some tape delays and a beaten-up grand piano. It’s about a veteran Irish-born British politician who was involved in the 1916 Rising as a child, news of which the papers and elements in his own party have gotten a hold of.”
Angeline: “When you get a demo from Ciaran, our guitarist, it’s usually all there. He’s a very thorough man. Such was the case with this song, which meant it took shape very quickly. It’s very compact, very economical. In some ways it set me thinking about what way to approach the record – to aim for the leanest, most nourishing set of recordings we could achieve.”
Montecassino: “This song lived with us for a couple of years, and developed into one we’re particularly proud of. It is formalistic, inspired by songs from films, and it has a key change that doesn’t really sound like your average pop music key change. The lyric is suggestive of a few possible narratives: it doesn’t allow itself to be pinned down, and this is also satisfying.”
Crowd Of Lungs: “This nearly got dropped off the record until it suddenly developed into one of our favourites. It’s a Cold War spy thriller and a simple, paranoid, unreliable love song. It’s good fun to play and we usually start rehearsals with this one.”
I’d Do Anything: “Ciaran came up with the musical basis of this and sent me the demo when I was in hospital. I’d love to say I wrote the rest of it in there but I was in completely uncreative form. We sat down later and came up with the vocal melody and choruses.”
Royal Jewellery: “I was reading a biography of Michael Davitt when I wrote the lyric for this, and I came up with the notion that he was the agent behind the downfall of Parnell. Musically, I wanted to do something a bit like Dick Diver’s Tearing The Posters Down but there’s something of the Rolling Stones in the rhythm section.”
Life Of Crime: “Absolute disciplined new wave pop in the end. I completely regret overburdening the middle part with too many words. That’s songs for you: they don’t stop developing once you’ve recorded them.”
Cartoons: “This one ended up as something like Pavement in their country-ish moments, like Range Life. I was trying to write an Abba song: what a failure! I still like it though. A touch of Reigning Sound, I think. The ghost-y saloon piano was recorded using a mic that was positioned way over the other side of the room.”
Moratorium: “Wrote this one in 2009 or thereabouts but it got skipped over after one try in practice. I was always fond of the kitchen sink drama lyrics and was glad to resurrect it. Mark Chester, the producer, gave this one a Springsteen-y lift with his ideas for doubling the guitar motifs on piano.”
Modern Pentathlon: “The most inscrutable lyric on the album, I think. I kind of have it figured out myself by now, but I won’t explain it. It’s great fun to play, a real chance to show the punters how we do it in Little Britain Street.”