On Fire, With Love

Release Date: 05/26/2006 · Format: CD · Catalog-No:

On Fire, With Love is the second album from Seachange and it has been 2 years in the making. Let us go back a bit first though. 2004, the year of living dangerously. Lay of the Land is released. Seachange spend the year touring the world, building up a reputation for electric and spontaneous live shows, trailblazing through America with Guided by Voices and Pretty Girls Make Graves. In Germany, Dave duels on guitar with a hairy man from Schorndorf and Electrelane join them on stage for an impromptu finale of Bronski Beat’s “Small town boy” in Hamburg.

Back in Nottingham, the band regroups. A year of playing intense music at an intense pace has taken its toll. They lock themselves away in First Love, their studio, practice space and artistic hideaway, to write some quiet songs, rediscovering their folk roots and reacquainting themselves with Nottingham. These songs are debuted at the Green’s Mill Old School Hall, Sneinton, in December 2004. Candles and holly adorn the beautiful old building and people toast the quieter-sounding Seachange with mulled wine. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the desire to play loud music had ever left them though; it simply needed to be augmented and given a fresh perspective. And so an idea formed: Why not write a double album? One album of songs that had made up the Green’s Mill gig and one album of new, louder and brighter songs.

With this deceptively simple idea in mind, the band decamped to Cornwall with Glaswegian producer Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Delgados) to record their next record. In a remote farmhouse, in close quarters, the band was in its element, and the recordings were bearing fruit. From these sessions came the haunting “Anti-story”, the bracing 100-miles an hour whiplash of “No Backward Glances” the power pop anthem ”Christmas Letters” and perhaps the highlight of the whole record, “In”, a catchy stream-of-consciousness lyric wedded to an utterly infectious guitar riff . However, they soon realised the ambitiousness of the project they had set themselves and two records in three weeks proved to be too great a task. It was clear they needed to return to the artistic cocoon of First Love and that some fresh impetus was needed.

The band jettisoned the double-album idea and enlisted the help of Nottingham’s answer to Jim O’Rourke, Neil Wells (Savoy Grand, Escapologists, Line) and co-producer Pete Fletcher (Escapologists).They spent the remainder of 2005 back in First Love’s familiar surroundings with heads down, fine-tuning what would become On Fire, With Love. New band member, Neil Wells added many textures to the new recordings, from the cornet blasts that punctuate “Annie, Tacoma” to the crunching guitar at the end of “The Key” and the band were able to accommodate some of their quieter songs to great effect: “Midsummer”, “Punch and Judy”, “Shooting Arrows”. An old Robert Browning poem was resurrected for “Youth and Art” and a howling great banshee of a rock song, “Battleground”, was added as the final piece in the puzzle.

On Fire, With Love in Words…. Annie, Tacoma is all light-footed, like two birds in a bizarre courting ritual, all posture, proud feathers and knowing looks…a goofball swirl, like parlour games, cute business, and all the stuff you can try out and get away with when your fooling around and its no big deal – like trying on clothes, or masks for the ball – just don’t get burned playing with fire! Ouch!…No Backward Glances careers through a handful of years, a celebration of someone and the time by their side, the affair a firework bound to explode and fall into the moonlit millpond of Anti-Story, a sad/funny glance back at fantasies cracking, memories fragmenting and reality kicking…Shooting Arrows a ‘shot to the heart and you’re to blame,’ that moment when the spell breaks and you realise its over and all you can hear is screeching cars, far off lovers and questions, questions ringing in your ears…artistic ambition is the force keeping the lovers of Youth and Art apart; but through their failure to see the connection between art and life, the former has betrayed them to triviality…love is blasted by a weakness of will, worldly prudence and the potential lovers are irretrievably marred, love letters are returned and thrown onto the fire…Midsummer jumps back to a longest day of spell-setting, meadow-dancing, innocent moon-eyed peering into an uncertain future…a fine time in the sun, a passing moment, the lifespan of a fire…and then In moves in, a rambling unsent love letter, a plea, a promise, tongue-in cheek but every word meant, yearning, waiting…on fire, with love.

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