Eli - Suburban Dirts
We always enjoy a very good concept album and today's LCM featured band Hertfordshire based Suburban Dirts have a very interesting one set for release shortly. 'I Want Blood' tells the story of brothers Micajah ‘Big’ Harpe and Wiley ‘Little’ Harpe: American War Of Independence mercenaries, highwaymen, river pirates, rapists, thieves, who are generally accepted to be America’s first serial killers. Mad, bad and dangerous to know! Our LCM #SongOfTheDay is an early taster of the new album, a soft and gentle piano ballad called 'Eli'.
The Suburban Dirts don't come from darkest Tennessee or Kentucky, where the Harpes made their infamous reputation, but Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire. The band has been playing around the UK Americana/roots scene since forming as a four-piece in 2011. Now expanded to six members -- John Wheatley (lead vocal/acoustic guitar/harmonica),Chris Varley (bass), David Austin (drums/vocals),David Moyes (guitar), Jay Seymour (keyboards), Joolz Addison (violin) -- they fit recording and playing around their day-jobs. John Wheatley works in film, Chris Varley is a gardener, and David Austin is working on his philosophy PhD. “We’re massive film and literature nerds, and David's always fed bits of philosophy back to us through his studies,” John Wheatley comments. “It had a profound effect on the album.”
'I Want Blood' is Suburbans Dirts’ third album. And it’s a real game-changer. Exploring territory that their previous music hinted at and striking a new level for Americana in the UK. “We wanted to make something epic, cinematic, and became interested in pre-cowboy America, real frontier stuff. We’re also very much into soundtracks, like Badly Drawn Boy’s About A Boy, or albums you absorb as a whole piece, like The Beatles’ Abbey Road. Themes and musical ideas drift in and out at different times, short musical interludes sit between proper songs, which all help tell the story.”
There’s certainly a tale to be told here, and at its heart, 'I Want Blood' is a love story.
You might think that I Want Blood is the soundtrack to some long-lost movie, and you wouldn't be far from the truth. As John explains, "We really did feel like we were working on a film or a novel, which helped us ground the content and the mood of each song, and the dynamic of the album as a whole. We would love to turn it into any one of these. It’s ambitious, but why not?” Why not indeed. Treat yourself to the greatest movie you’ve never seen, the best novel you’ve never read. Listen to 'I Want Blood'. It turns expectations of what UK Americana is on its head and spins it round.
The album was recorded at Reservoir Studio, produced by Chris Clarke (Danny & The Champions Of The World) and featuring guest appearances from Siobhan Parr, Bella Chipperfield, Melvin Duffy, Foghorn Leghorn, Paul Lush, Stephen Glithero and the Roselands School Choir.