Black Doldrums announce new album ‘Dead Awake’ and share first single and video ‘Sad Paradise’
London-based group Black Doldrums are today announcing their long-awaited debut album, ‘Dead Awake’, and sharing the first single and video, ‘Sad Paradise’. Produced by Jared Artaud (The Vacant Lots, Alan Vega), the ‘Dead Awake’ LP is due out March 11 2022 via Fuzz Club Records and arrives following two sold-out EPs (most recently 2019’s ‘She Divine’) and tour-dates around the UK, EU and US. Originally a duo founded by Sophie Landers (drums) and Kevin Gibbard (guitar/vocals) but now recently fleshed out to a trio with Matt Holt joining on bass, Black Doldrums deal in a dark, shoegazing psych that melds gothic post-punk with a leather-clas rock’n’roll spirit. You can stream ‘Sad Paradise’, the first taste of their newly-announced debut, below.
‘Sad Paradise’ (which, like the band’s 2018 EP of the same name, takes its title from a handwritten poem Allen Ginsberg sent in a letter to Jack Kerouac) opens ‘Dead Awake’ and sets the tone with a tightly-wound spiral of gothic-psychedelic guitars, Kevin’s austere vocal and primal drums. Describing it as “a song about rejecting social norms”, they say that “Sad Paradise is about seeing people live their lives around you with little or no impact, just coming and going, wasting their lives away.” Out now on all streaming platforms, the track is also accompanied by a video from Laura Conlon (the first in what will be a three-part film trilogy to be released across the album campaign).
Having cultivated a die-hard following in the UK psych underground, Kevin and Sophie set to work on their long-awaited debut album in 2020. Their original plans were to travel to New York to record the album with Jared Artaud of fellow label-mates The Vacant Lots however the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns and travel restrictions inevitably put a stop to that. Instead, they recorded the album in London with Artaud producing and mixing the album remotely from Brooklyn. “It made for an interesting collaboration as the distance could have been an obstacle”, Sophie recalls, “but it actually helped creativity as we were more inclined to stay in touch and have really decent phone calls at length discussing the songs in a lot of detail. We really enjoyed those conversations with Jared about music and all of our influences. I think you can hear on the record that it is a full collaboration.”
The more collaborative effort of ‘Dead Awake’ finds Black Doldrums switching gears and adopting a cleaner, more precise creative approach than that of their earlier material. “The idea was to be absolutely brutal with our songs and cut them down to what we only felt was necessary”, Sophie remembers: “Up until this point we had been experimenting and were happy with what we had created but we no longer felt the need to hide behind too much reverb and an excessive amount of guitars. It still sounds like us but it has all the elements needed to stand the test of time.” The result is an album that feels colder and more stripped back – the effects are still there but stripped down to their fundamentals so that the songs themselves take precedence over any wall-of-sound deliria.