HEAR / SHARE NEW SINGLE “NORMAL PEOPLE” HERE
(Credit: David Anderson) Fatherson are back, but not as you know them. Today, the Glaswegian three-piece have announced details of “Normal Fears”, their first album in three years. The album is a lush lesson in letting go. Gorgeous, groove-led singalongs steeped in electronics find the band in a playful mode, putting break-ups, old ways of working and everyday worries behind them to start afresh, sunny side up.
The announcement comes as the band share a new short film titled “Same Old, Brand New”, which features stunning live session footage of the band performing fan favourites from previous releases, their recent synth-drenched standalone single “End Of The World”, as well as the next taster of their new material with new single “Normal People” – which is also released today. Speaking on the short film the band says, “We wanted to do something special to announce our new album. The idea was to create something that could be shared all over the world, a celebration of the new music we’ve created with a nod to what has come before. ’Same Old, Brand New’ is just that. A collection of exclusive live performances presented as a short film that explores some of the concepts around the album and the world in general.
We were incredibly excited to get the opportunity to work with Forest of Black on this. Throughout the pandemic they really embraced this style and created some amazing films for Liam Gallagher, Biffy Clyro, The Snuts etc. Michael Sherrington directed it and was really the creative force behind the vision for the film. We have worked with Michael previously and jumped at the opportunity to work with him again - he has such a great style and is incredibly talented.
This performance film is our way of showcasing our new music to the whole world and we can’t wait for everyone to watch it.”
WATCH “SAME OLD, BRAND NEW” HERE
Part love song, part commentary of the world, “Normal People”, draws on the anthemic nature of the band’s previous material whilst also leaning into their new alt-pop focused melodic direction.
Speaking on the single, frontman Ross Leighton says, “there is a perspective in the song that is about falling in love and feeling like you’re the only two people in the world, looking out at everyone else. At that moment I had never been so sure of anything before, which was an amazing feeling. However, in all honesty it is kind of a bluff because I am a normal person riddled with fear.”
HEAR / SHARE “NORMAL PEOPLE” HERE
Alongside their new material, Fatherson have also announced details of a new headline UK tour for March 2022 in support of “Normal Fears”. The dates will follow their recent October tour which saw them play to multiple sold-out crowds. The band are renowned for their encapsulating live performances, which have seen them tour alongside the likes of Lewis Capaldi on his EU arena dates and at Wembley Arena, as well as playing with Frightened Rabbit, Biffy Clyro, Idlewild, Augustines, Enter Shikari, Amber Run, Twin Atlantic, and more.
Live dates – March 2022:
11: Glasgow, Barrowland 17: Aberdeen, Beach Ballroom 18: Newcastle, Northumbria University 19: Leeds, The Wardrobe 20: Manchester, Club Academy 22: Stoke on Trent, The Sugarmill 23: Birmingham, Castle & Falcon 24: Nottingham, The Bodega 25: Cambridge, The Portland Arms 27: St. Albans, The Horn 28: Bristol, Exchange 29: London, Islington Assembly Hall Tickets will go on general sale on 26th November at 10am GMT. However fans who pre-order ‘Normal Fears’ from the band’s store will get access to a special presale on Wednesday 24th November, at 10am GMT. More info HERE
The follow-up to 2018’s “Sum Of All Your Parts”, “Normal Fears” was largely written remotely, with Ross in his native Kilmarnock and bassist Marc Strain and drummer Greg Walkinshaw in Glasgow.
“Our aim was to drop our guard,” says Ross. “Forget what we thought we knew about making music and just have fun. It was less about searching for a sound than trying out new ways of working. We were open to anything.”
“Normal Fears” got underway a few weeks pre-pandemic but took flight with the first lockdown. Stuck at home, Fatherson embraced the new normal and the fresh possibilities it posed.
“Luckily, lockdown was ideal for this album,” says Ross. “The separation gave us clarity. We’d send song parts to each other then each go away and work on them, trying out mad ideas we might not have suggested had we all been together.
“There was no pressure because no one knew when the world would open up again. We had the time to be creative and recapture the feeling we had when we first became a band, when there were no expectations of how Fatherson should sound.”
To help shake up their sound, the trio invited a cast of friends to contribute. Ross’s first remote writing session was with Danny Morgan-Ball. The plan was just to jam. But after a natter, the pair wrote two songs in under two hours – one of which was the album’s lead single “End Of The World”. The other was the widescreen “Love For Air”, on which sinuous melodies capture the rush of falling in love and a choir-backed chorus recalls Songs From The Big Chair-era Tears For Fears.
Ross wrote “Normal People” with Rich Turvey (Blossoms, Courteeners), inspired by both watching the TV series of the same name and Ross’s new relationship. “The Feeling and The Sound” is sun-soaked pop which sums up the redemptive nature of “Normal Fears” and was co-written with Seton Daunt (Kylie, Amy MacDonald). The shimmering “Dive” was inspired by Haim, features Amber Run’s Joe Koegh on backing vocals and nods to Radiohead in its middle eight.
When lockdown lifted in early summer, Fatherson returned to their Glasgow studio and, in October, the band decamped to RAK studios in London with producer Steph Marziano (Hayley Williams, Denai Moore, Mumford & Sons) and engineer Isabelle Gracefield (Dua Lipa, Stormzy), where “Normal Fears” took yet another twist. Rather than record everything live, as Fatherson previously had, songs were torn apart and reassembled, pianos fed through cassette players and ping pong balls introduced.
“We put 30 ping pong balls inside a snare drum and shook them around to get a sample for Honest To God,” says Greg, “Other times we bounced them off walls.
“There’s the sound of a dropped sandbag in there and a sample of a river in Kilmarnock which I had recorded as a wee nod to home. We added found sounds from the street, including a couple having an argument. The synth at the start of Love For Air is the song played back into a toy keyboard.”
Ross played the studio’s precious acoustic guitar which was used on Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees and is kept under lock and key. Drunk on cocktails one night, everyone took turns to whistle on the groovy 365, which features more ping pong balls in its middle eight.
“It was the most fun we’ve ever had making an album and I hope you can hear it,” says Ross. “It’s also a lesson to ourselves. We’re best friends in a band. Life is more than alright.”
“Normal Fears” is due out 25th February via Easy Life Records – Pre-order the new album HERE
25th February 2022
Easy Life Records
1. End Of The World
2. Love For Air
3. Normal People
5. Do It For Yourself
6. Honest To God
7. That Feeling and the Sound
9. Better Friend
10. All The Time
12. Crying Wolf
13. Wreckage in the Rubble