Scatter out 5/12/15 in the US via Matilda Records/Moshi Moshi Records
Since the release of their well-received Tropes EP last year, South London duo Crushed Beaks have largely eschewed live shows to concentrate on writing and recording their eagerly-awaited debut album, now scheduled for a May release in the US.
Originally holed up – quite literally – in a basement in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood, they began work on songs that would eventually make up Scatter. In a room with no natural light, and no particular deadline set, endless reams of demos were concocted and discarded until some started to bubble up to the surface.
A chance encounter with Fabio Frizzi, the long-time Lucio Fulci collaborator who composed the music for horror movie staples such as Zombie Flesh Eaters, The Beyond and City of the Living Dead, led to the pair being offered the opportunity of recording the full-length in Rome, at the very studio owned by one of their film idols. Enlisting the help of former Abbey Road engineer Pete Hutchings, Alex Morris (drums) and Matt Poile (vocals, guitar) stuffed a handful of effects pedals into a suitcase and headed to Italy.
Nothing resembling the vacation you’d normally enjoy in such an ancient city, the only window of light experienced each day was that of the band’s short walk to the studio every morning, with dusk already setting by the time they’d called it a night. Some evenings saw the group – ever perfectionists – work throughout the night and sleep in the studio, surrounded by vintage equipment worlds apart from their battered Telecasters.
Despite their tireless labor, Rome offered the band a unique opportunity to escape the comforts of home and distractions of everyday life, enabling them full immersion in their art. The rare visits the pair did make to the famous Colosseum and St. Peter’s Square saw them walk alone in a city completely alien and foreign, one once haunted by Black Death and the Roman plague, with this eeriness and solitude only adding to the dark environment of the entire recording process.
The resultant tracks on Scatter manage to capture the frenetic energy of the band’s live shows, as well as adopting a new gleam from working in such impressive setting. This time round, Poile’s distinct vocals are raised to the fore, more discernible than on previous efforts and with lyrics far more penetrating and personal.
The tightly woven melodies that initially set them apart from their peers remain intact, with chords now struck with sharper precision and hooks hitting the listener with greater immediacy. Meandering guitar lines drift in and out of focus on opener “April,” until the album explodes with thunderous drums and cymbals.
Despite its name however, Scatter is anything but disparate. Like Frizzi’s own soundtracks and scores, the band has assembled an LP that feels like a cohesive body of work. This was not a case of cherry-picking the best singles or radio-friendly tracks, but instead the shaping of a singular collection that runs seamlessly from start to finish.
Such sonic growth has seen the band outgrow their two-piece set-up, with Scott Bowley joining the band to flesh out their sound with bass guitar and vocal harmonies, and recreate the album’s more ambitious moments for the live setting.
From their debut single “Sun Dogs” and follow-ups “Grim” and “Breakdown,” right through to their first EP last September, Crushed Beaks have already attracted much acclaim from British blogs, print and radio alike, garnering rave reviews from BBC 6 Music, XFM, NME, The Independent, The Times, Loud and Quiet, Dazed and Confused, and more. Scatter now looks certain to take Crushed Beaks to the next level, without the group surrendering the foundations on which they were formed.