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New music review with SPARKLING and The Clockworks

Our weekly fix of the best new music as Julia Mason brings us her review of the new single from SPARKLING and an Abbey Road lock in session from The Clockworks

Logo for Blowtorch Records blog series Cool Sounds From The Underground


Track: I Love You So

Paris band Sparkling with their new release I Love You So
Credit écoute chérie

SPARKLING open their new track with a sprinkling of "I love you"s in different languages from their friends; a simple and yet such an effective method of pulling together differences, unified by this universal feeling. I Love You So is the fourth single from the band's forthcoming album We Are Here To Make You Feel, out 27 October on Moshi Moshi.

I Love You So is all tight beats and swirling synths. These then lift and soar, perhaps representing the feeling of exhilaration when we experience love. The trio say that they want you to surrender to their electro-pop “completely without self-consciousness.” And they have produced the perfect track to do this. We live in troubled times and so sometimes we just need to get up and dance. I Love You So is a track to do exactly that.

The joyous music video directed by Nikolai Meierjohann sees SPARKLING take to the streets of their much-treasured Paris, leaving love letters hidden in plain sight around the city. The band explain: "We shot this video on a hot autumn day in Paris, the city of love. It just felt like the right - and only - place for this love song. We collected love letters from friends in all kinds of languages and placed them in the streets, mirroring the samples in the beginning of the song."

Speaking further on the track, SPARKLING share: "With this song, we wanted to capture the feeling of falling in love. The rush you get when you are with that person and you just can't play it cool anymore. For the intro of the song, we asked our friends to send us voice memos saying 'I love you' in their mother tongue. It was very funny - suddenly we had our inboxes full of people saying 'I love you' in different languages."

Love is a theme that will permeate throughout the new album. Love has many different forms and intensities. They expand on this: “We Are Here To Make You Feel is an album about the importance of expressing your emotions. It's about love in every kind of way. Love for your friends, lovers and family. It's a reminder to tell your loved ones that you love them. On this record, we wanted to say that in the most honest and straightforward way possible.”

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Artist: The Clockworks

Track: Mayday Mayday

The Clockworks with Bernard Butler for Abbey Road lock in session Mayday Mayday
Photo Jill Furmanovsky

Abbey Road Studios has announced the latest release in its Abbey Road ‘Lock-In’ series with The Clockworks and Bernard Butler collaborating on new single Mayday Mayday. Recorded in Abbey Road's Studio Three in a one-day session with Grammy, BRIT & Mercury Prize winning producer Bernard Butler, Mayday Mayday is the first track they worked on together. The musical bond and strong friendship which formed from this one-off session resulted in Bernard producing the band’s highly anticipated debut album, Exit Strategy due for release on 10th November.

The series is designed to reveal the musical creative experience, offering a window into an otherwise closed process. Artists are invited into the studios for an unexpected collaboration, or to record a new interpretation of an existing song, using only the mix of vintage instruments and future tech provided by Abbey Road. Jane Weaver, Django Django x Denai Moore, Hak Baker and Fontaines D.C. have all released ‘Lock-In’ singles over the last two years with more to come in 2023.

Bernard Butler explains: “I was excited by the lock-in experiment. I chose to listen to nothing ahead of the session and work ‘blind’ on the day. There was no long-term plan for an album, I had never seen the band perform and I had little idea how their other songs sounded. That way we would all act instinctively for the purpose of the singular recording. I wanted to see how the musicians responded individually and collectively to our instincts by posing questions to decisions they had already made within the mechanics and emotional flow of the song. How thrilling it could be to turn these responses into sound.

"The process proved to be effective – the band were more than willing to throw their song into the ring, deconstruct and listen through the ears of someone listening for the first time, for that is exactly what happens when they are trying to attract any new listener to their music. From that point on I felt I had the band’s trust and it made recording the song more focused on what ‘could’ happen rather than what was ‘supposed’ to happen. The band revealed themselves to be wonderfully focused and able musicians with an ambitious lyrical and creative approach. My objective was to show them how they can approach their music anywhere, but of course I know that days like these really turn into magic at Abbey Road.”

Speaking on the track, singer James McGregor says: “We played around with the arrangement for Mayday Mayday for a while and hadn’t settled on it when we met Bernard. It felt like the right song to do first with him as we knew it needed some work so it would give us a chance to see what he could do. He got us to play the song on just vocals and acoustic guitar and then introduce every element individually on top of that to see how it changed the feeling. It was all about making sure that the song was lean, clear, and that nothing cluttered the essence of what it was. We recorded this track the day we met Bernard, and that was the first step of recording Exit Strategy".

After an extensive tour of the UK at the end of 2022, the band decided to head into the studio to record their debut album. Released independently on their own Life and Times Recordings, Exit Strategy is a 13-track labour of love, recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Love Electric, with Bernard Butler as producer.


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