Street Noise Invades The House
James in the studioRehearsals for "Street Noise Invades the House" began in early 2005. Firstly, the songs were routined at my place in Walthamstow, just me and Jude. We were determined that if there was going to be a second album it had to match the first one. With this thought paramount, songs were chosen from a ten year period, 95 - 05, with only the best making the grade. In the end this would boil down to just under 45 minutes of music.

We then moved to Steve's top room in February 2005, rehearsing all 14 songs in an afternoon, snow falling outside. The drums were recorded in one day in April at Tom's studio, Oilville, just off Holloway Road. Over the summer we recorded guitars and vocals with Czachor and Ian at Tuba in Hornsey. Kieran (Hammond) and Rob (ukulele, banjo-lele) both came in to make their contributions. I set up pictures of The Clash in the studio for inspiration. Polly sent me her BV's from Canada - thanks Poll, still owe you that drink.

Finally, it was sent off to Poland to be mastered. Waldemar's sister Goska very kindly dropped by the studio and gamely listened to our attempts at explaining what we wanted.

From An Early Morning Train PDF Print E-mail
Before we get to the first song, a quick note on the album title. It was adapted from 'Street Noises Invade the House', a painting by Italian Futurist Boccioni from the 1920s. The painting doesn't do much for me; it's a swirling, busy mess of form and colour. But the title suggested a different idea; street noise as something soft in the distance: the ice-cream van or lawnmower heard on a summer's afternoon; the distant crack of fireworks on bonfire night; seagulls that provoke a sudden out-of-place memory. Several songs on the album refer to street noise, some of it of the more obvious variety such as in 'Skylight', but it's the quieter kind that fits in with the album's reflective, melancholic mood. Rain against a window pane on your 19th get the idea.
Anyway, 'From An Early Morning Train'. Every band should have a train song and this is ours. Another title echo, this time from The Blue Nile's 'From A Late Night train'. Written at Priory Terrace, West Hampstead in '99. That's Polly on BV's - last chorus and outro.
Good Feeling PDF Print E-mail
Written at Stroud Green Road, 2002. Nearly left off the album until Jude noticed its poptastic qualities. Rob plays banjo-lele on the second verse and outro.
Suzy Please PDF Print E-mail
Started as an attempt at The Temptations 'Just My Imagination' - a stalker song. (The line 'I'm just your No1 fan' is a reference to Kathy Bates' line to James Caan in 'Misery'.) It then became something a bit more personal/universal. Written at Priory Terrace, '97. Love Kieran's understated Hammond and Ian’s Cowboy Junkies’ slide. Also, Steve's best drumming - pure feel playing. "Pure chocolate fuckin’ sex, man!" to quote Dave Grohl on John Bonham's drumming on 'When the Levee Breaks'.
I Wish You Would PDF Print E-mail
A deliberate stab at the old Flamingoes sound. Written at Stroud Green Road, 2003. The title was (subconsciously) lifted from the first Yardbirds single, subsequently covered by Bowie on Pin-Ups. A glam stomp with a Who middle-eight.
Hole in The Sky PDF Print E-mail
My favourite track on the album. Written by Jude in Cliff Road, Camden, '95 and Holloway Road, '96. Starts with gentle Leslie guitar, then Steve comes in with a gossamer groove. I like the juxtaposition of a downbeat lyric with uplifting music. Some people thought this was about global warming or acid rain. To me it's much more personal; a song about regret, depression, even madness. The 'hole in the sky' always made me think of Bowie's line in 'Oh You Pretty Things' - "crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me". It's also a love song. The demo, which we slavishly tried to recreate, had a sort of luminous, mystical quality that matched lines like "wish you could see through my eyes". I think we got there in the end. Check the way the Hammond swells unbearably at 3.06 on the line "stay at home with me instead".
Saint Jo PDF Print E-mail
From the most musically dense track on the album to the simplest. Written at Stroud Green Road in the autumn of 2001. I was trying to get The Go-Betweens' lightness of touch, or early 'Treeless Plain' Triffids. The low harmony on the line "she says she's worked out what makes her well" reminds me of 'Madeline' every time. Love Rob's ukulele in the breakdown verse; sounds like a Japanese instrument - a koto perhaps. Perfectly suits the lyric.
Star Trek PDF Print E-mail
Written Autumn '99 at Mayfield Road, Crouch End, and at Mick's old place on St Anne's Hill, Wandsworth. I was staying there at the time after a big break up. Those are fireworks at the end not the Gulf War.
Late Night shopping PDF Print E-mail
Made several attempts at this. The version Mick and I did at Slapp Studios, Brixton in 2000 is great; sexy as hell. This is different, with beautiful, baroque 12-string and Sly and the Family Stone wah-wah in the verses. Written summer of '99, Priory Terrace.
Seagulls PDF Print E-mail
This had an extra verse which I cut out. It was just a repeat of the first with a slightly different melody and didn't add anything. The structure is really tight now. Written Priory Terrace, '97. Have to find some more bird titles.
Skylight PDF Print E-mail
Written at Stroud Green Road in the summer of 2000. I'd been listening to the Golden Smog album a lot. I like the fact it's almost a prison song, the 'narrator' is looking through the bars of his window. A superb Jude guitar solo; my favourite alongside 'The chosen Few' and ' Last Of The Big spenders'.
Peace of Mind PDF Print E-mail
I think we finally nailed this. Several attempts were made at this since it was written at Priory Terrace in '96. A lot of the anger has gone (sorry Andy!) but I decided to let the lyric dictate the terms. Three things make this, and they all come together in the solo. Firstly, Ian's lovely Mazzy Star slide. Secondly, Jude's great behind-the-beat Peter Green lead guitar and thirdly, Polly's peerless, soothing BV's. Thanks guys.
H.O.L.L.A.N.D PDF Print E-mail
The old Flams sound again. Feedback, and fuzz bass using Pete's old La Rocka MXR distortion; the same one that was on all the old demos and 'Plastic Jewels'. Written summer '96 at Camden Road about a girl I met on holiday 10 years earlier. God bless you Ingrid. If you're out there I'd love to know what you're doing now.
Things Fall Apart PDF Print E-mail
Written at Stroud Green Road, Autumn 2000. Recorded in one take, just me on guitar and vocal in November of that year at the end of a long demo session at La Rocka, Jude engineering. This became The Teflon Song - nothing would stick to it. Tried a band version. Didn't work. Polly recorded fantastic harmonies. Still not right. In the end we used the demo. Borrowing a 16 Track Fostex machine from La Rocka, Ian transferred the quarter inch tape to the digital domain. Hats off to Tom for cleaning it up too. Top work.
The Sun in the Morning PDF Print E-mail
'The Sun in the Morning'. The oldest song on the album, written summer '95, Camden Road. Title taken from an old Carol book. You can tell by its orthodox structure that it started as a song for another artist. But it soon became a Flamingoes/John Barry/ Beatles '65 ballad with a Motown chop and no strings. Painstakingly recreated from the demo - especially Adrian's shimmering tremelo - this version is faster, crisper, gotta bit more intent. As with the demo that's me taking the guitar solo. 


Expect Flamingoes III sometime in 2016 (only joking).
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