• LAST HARBOUR - 'EMBERS' EP
    (Little Red Rabbit Records; LRR010)

    The 'Embers' EP is made up of demos and versions from 'Dead Fires & the Lonely Spark' (LRR005), in the same way that the 'October' EP (LRR001) showed the origins of songs from our previous album 'Hold Fast, Pioneer' (Tongue Master Records; 2005).

    1. 'Broken Nail'
    This is an entirely different mix of the opening song from 'Dead Fires' that uses the demo version as a foundation on which to build something new. Without the drums, it comes off as something like a torch song with some of Kev's most personal lyrics and an up-close delivery. Sarah and James' beautiful string parts wind around each other really well so we duplicated them and moved them nanoseconds apart to get a natural chorus effect. There's all kinds of other layers there too (organs, reversed cymbals, guitar loops), mostly played by me and mixed subtly by James. Listen to it on headphones.

    2. 'Out Back'
    We recorded the basic drums and guitar on this years ago (2000? 2001?) at Huw's old flat in Nottingham, with Michael Larkin helping out on recording duties. (Michael played the seasick piano too in a manner that our friend Marc would perhaps describe as being "just deliberate dischords".) Back then it had a vocal that Kev was never happy with so Miss Murphy stepped up to the plate and wrote something really bitchy. If I was a journalist I would describe her vocal as 'brassy' or 'sassy' or something else 'assy'. But she'd kick the shit out of me so I won't. I still made her record it standing in my freezing cold bathroom though. Something to do with 'good acoustics'...

    3. 'The Revenger's Waltz'
    This take shows how the song started out life far lower-key than the eventual album version. Here it sits at a really subtle level, delicate and cautious in the right ways. There's a lightness to this version that changed in the studio, perhaps driven by the drums and addition of cello. Ok, perhaps it misses the great bass part Mike eventually came up with for the beginning of the waltz section (his most apparent debt to Ashley Hutchings) but James' pedal steel sounds great and it ends the song perfectly on a hanging, unresolved note. Huw and I nailed the change into the waltz section too.

    Happy New Year for 2009.

    David Armes
    December 2008

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