Why an album?
Hi, Emrys here. First things first. Should a “band website”tm have SO MUCH WRITING? So much to read?!? Well… my simple, honest response is a resounding “YES!”. Whilst I’m all for the art of being mysterious – the art of not giving anything away… I also see the benefit of opening yourself up to your audience. For every Jack Nicholson or Morrissey there must be a Lily Allen or a … hmmm… well… hopefully you understand what I mean? In fact, in this ‘Twitter’-era I guess we’ve got the most ‘openness’ that there has ever been. It’s not red snappers in hotel rooms anymore… it’s opinions and true thoughts straight in your face. By no means do you HAVE to read, but I really, really would have loved more of this from my favourite artists in my youth.
Anyway… I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about an important issue. Why is the Eleventh Hour Initiative so particular about releasing “AN ALBUM”? It may seem a trivial question, but in this last decade where the importance of the album has been diminished so greatly, you have to ask why we are even bothering with the concept of an album? A collection of songs. In order. Starting at a starting point – of our choice, not yours. Ending at a final song. A final song that we tell you is the final song. The completion of a journey that we take you on.
I think there have been a few factors that have influenced the decline of ‘the album’ as a feature of modern music, but I personally lay the blame pretty squarely at the rise of the mp3 player and the victory of the download single. The youth of today (ha ha! How old do I sound sometimes?!?) are into soundbites. They are into snatches of music. Fragments of sound. Nothing to stretch the attention span. Music has become the ad breaks. Music has become the noise in between the rest of the noise. Shards of audio and shards of visual thrust in everyone’s faces. Hour after hour, day upon day. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. I think it is a different thing. I just have the nostalgia of turning off the lights, laying in bed (fully clothed, nothing sexual going on here!) and listening to the latest album bought with my pennies from an ACTUAL SHOP!!! Ha ha! No, seriously… I can to this day remember lying in my darkened bedroom listening to Grace by Jeff Buckley for the first time. Hearing Lilac Wine for that moment which you can never claw back. Shiver down the spine time. Whole collections of songs that someone has taken the time to put together. Okay, a lot of my ‘longing’ is because it was an era that made me who I am today. Those listens of Dummy by Portishead or the excitement of These Animal Men. The download-single-adoring “youth of today” are living through their own era. And the iPod is part of the zeitgeist. I’m not sure I’ve used the correct terminology there… but I’m also not sure I care!
So, why are Bill and I bothering to release an album? Why don’t we just try to chuck out a number 1 hit download single? Well, I think that answer can be dealt with by means of a series of questions (politician style!): Have you listened to Dark Side of the Moon? Have you listened to Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots or the Soft Bulletin? Have you listened to OK Computer? Back in Black? Have you listened to any great rock record? Have you enjoyed a classic album? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then I believe you will enjoy our album. I’m not paying lip service here. I believe you will fall for our album. For we have dedicated ourselves to making this “collection of songs” the very best set of songs that we can possibly achieve. We are aspiring to place Escapism alongside the very best of the albums from history. I want the album to stand proudly alongside Pet Sounds or Revolver on your ‘shelf’. It’s not important which of the three is the ‘best’ 😉 , I just want you to know, with a simple listen, that we are as serious about music as those classic artists certainly were. I just want to assure you that our album will contain no filler. Our album will be a work of art. I acknowledge that it is possible to say everything you want to say in a single song. There are some great one hit wonders out there. But I am not a one hit wonder. Bill is not a one hit wonder. The Eleventh Hour Initiative is not a one-off line cast into a river. We are the full box of bait. We have the full works… those little float things and the things with the feathers and everything!
The Eleventh Hour Initiative is an opportunity to present music as art. I know I can sound monstrously pretentious at times ( 😉 )… but I feel it is vital to describe why we are about to release an album in the age of the single. Remember… things go full circle. The Beatles defined the album. Vinyl defined the length of the album. CDs redefined the album. Downloads destroyed the album. And I believe the album will rise again. The album will return with a vengeance and obliterate the ‘shuffle’ button on your mp3 player! I like it when I read that vinyl sales are on the increase. It makes me wish I hadn’t thrown my record player away all those years ago for the lure of the mighty, indestructible CD. Ha ha! Indestructible!!! Ha ha! Seriously… I sit here in my studio under a framed Them Crooked Vultures album. It’s a gatefold, double vinyl album. I long to actually play it. I think the time has come for me to buy another record player! And I think the world is almost ready for an Eleventh Hour Initiative album!!! What do you think?