Released in April 2011 on Make Mine Music/Norman Records on CD + download
Buy Weathering here.
Listen to With Our Backs to the City:
- The collaboration came about when Stephen contacted Epic45 after he saw a film of them performing Losing my Hair, the sinister opener from Dying Happy, recorded live during the Novosonic Festival in France in 2009.”
- Epic 45′s Ben Holton: “Basically, we sent the stripped down track to Stephen with an overview of what the album’s main themes were and left the rest to him. We were pretty confident that he’d be able to come up with something suitable and he didn’t let us down” (interview, bad-pages.dk, 2011).
- Stephen Jones: “The fact that they picked that obscure song, endeared me to them immediately. I’ve not heard the album, but I have all the others. It’s perfect music to listen to in an airport queue to check in with some lo cost airline. Perked me up and moving me all at the same time”. (interview, bad-pages.dk, 2011.)
- The collaboration was done totally via the internet and the parties never met.
- Epic 45′s Ben Holton has been a fan of Stephen’s music since the days of the lo-fi albums.
- Ben Holton on babybird “For me, it’s the mixture of the beautifully melodic music and the incredible lyrics. Especially in his early work, I love the way a song can be fragile, sad, and funny all at the same time. The Original Lo-Fi albums are one of the greatest bodies of work I’m aware of” (interview, bad-pages.dk, 2011).
There is a long tradition of pastoral music capturing a quintessential Englishness, running from Vaughan Williams through the English folk tradition to more recent names like Robert Wyatt and Talk Talk. Further down this line you’ll find Epic45.
Ten years after their formation in a small rural Midlands village, a decade in which the nucleus of Ben Holton and Rob Glover have redefined and refined the band’s sound, Epic45 release “Weathering”, their new album and definitive statement. Epic45′s last full-length album “May Your Heart Be The Map” in 2007 was described as “the best English summer album ever” by Word Magazine, and was later included in their albums of the decade. “Weathering” takes the same elements, but is a more mature, reflective and subdued work with a far broader sonic palette.
The album mourns the loss of a way of life that Ben and Rob’s generation were the last to witness. Over the last twenty or thirty years, many English villages have become subsumed by the growth of neighbouring towns and cities and their identity has been lost. It was the intention to convey a sense of the ravaging effects of time on places, objects and lives, and to reflect these ideas of change and decay through the textures and lyrical themes.
“Weathering” boasts an impressive set of guest singers and musicians. Stephen Jones of Babybird lends his trademark falsetto to the beautiful “With Our Backs to the City”, a track co-written with Jones after he contacted the band, impressed by a cover of his song “Losing My Hair” that Epic45 had been performing live. The track is unquestionably one of the album’s highlights. Rose Berlin, the daughter of Curve’s Dean Garcia, adds her delicate vocals to “Summer Message”, a duet she wrote and performs with Ben. Meanwhile, regular contributor Antony Harding of July Skies, sings and plays clarinet on the Durutti Column-esque “Ghosts I Have Known”. Instrumental contributions come from a wide cast including Richard Adams of The Declining Winter and Hood, who adds guitar and hammered dulcimer, electronic duo The Remote Viewer, EL Heath and Brave Timbers/Declining Winter violinist Sarah Kemp.
“Weathering” is a stunning addition to Epic45′s already impressive and sought-after body of work. It will be available in June 2011 on a digipak CD (with artwork designed by the band with NME Award winning designer Ben Curzon) and digital download.