The Third Sound are back with their third album, and second on Fuzz Club, Gospels of Degeneration. Ten songs that will rip through you. It’s an album that was recorded in a small studio and you can hear more of the stripped down sound of the band and their use of instruments to get across the many feelings and emotions.
I love the use of guitar throughout the album and think it plays a huge part of making it feel different from other The Third Sound records, without taking away the quintessential sound of the band. With songs like “Charlatan” and the opening track, “We Got All You Need”, the drumming has that really great and fantastic garage like feel to it. Lay down the guitar over the top, and you have some of their best songs.
The nostalgic feel of “You Are Not Here” mixed with the amazing vocals of frontman Hakon Aðalsteinsson and Tess Parks, and you want to find a dark, smoky bar somewhere and sit back with a whiskey. “Before There Was You” rips my insides into shreds with that guitar. The emotion really pours out of that and it’s just an amazing song, both musically and lyrically.
The album as a whole hits with so much power, power that you don’t feel at first. It gains more through each listen. You hear the band's soul pouring and washing all over you...and you can’t put it down.
I had a chance to catch up with Hakon and ask him a few questions about the album to give some some insight into this record...
A couple years back when I interviewed you after the release of your second album, The Third Sound of Destruction and Creation, I asked you to sum up the album in a sentence. It wasn’t an easy task by any means but you did it: “Musically expanded album exploring a wide range of (sometimes) contrasting themes, where the borders between, light and darkness, dream and reality, pop and experimental elements start disappearing.” How would you say things have changed for Gospels of Degeneration?
Things are always different from album to album, both because it reflects the situation you were in when the album was made and because you want to push things forward. There were a lot of changes within the band when we were planning to start recording this album. Our bass player had left (but has now returned again) and we did not have a drummer until we met Leo who has a small studio where the album was recorded. The main song ideas had been written some time before we started and I did not wanna sit around and wait so me, Robin (guitar) and Leo just went ahead and recorded the songs.
Robin and I had discussed making an album that was not as layered and produced sounding as the last one, we wanted something a bit more straight forward this time and to rely on the songwriting itself rather than decorating with heavy use of effects, so it made perfect sense to make a record in a small and simple studio.
The album is another amazing piece. The guitar work throughout this really stands out, especially after a few listens and you are able to absorb it all. It’s an extension of your soul at many times, where you can FEEL that emotion just right there, slamming into your being. So beautiful and heart wrenching. Can you elaborate a bit on the song writing, and how the guitar played a part in bringing these songs to so much level and depth?
There was more time to work the songs out this time since we did not have a deadline like last time, It was a slower process and I would send Robin unfinished recordings so he could spend time working on his part before coming in to record. In some cases there was also a different approach because I would start a song with the bass line which allowed me and Robin to do more guitar harmonies together.
The first single from the album, “You Are Not Here”, features Tess Parks. Can you tell us about this collaboration? Was this song written with her, or you just had her in mind?
It is a song I wrote a while ago but I was not sure if it would fit on the album and when I presented it to Robin and Leo the idea of making it a duet was still just in my head. I had met Tess when she was recording her album with Anton and just thought she had an amazing voice, so when she got in touch few months later while we were recording saying she was coming back to Berlin I took it as a sign and asked her if she would be up for singing it with me.
Following “You Are Not Here” come the songs “Hole In My Heart” and “Before There Was You”. Both songs are favourites from the album. What can you tell us about those songs?
I think they are both good examples of the straightforward simple approach I mentioned, because it could have been easy to do a lot more layers there but we just did not feel it was necessary. Lyrically speaking they both deal with losing someone close to you but two completely different ways of dealing with it.
What more would you like to add about the new album?
I guess I realised afterwards that a lot of the lyrics are in one way or another somehow reflecting my experience and ideas of Berlin. Not only personal experience, also what I have seen around me and the reputation of the city as sort of a hedonistic place. This is not in any way a concept album but this is at least one of the themes.
- Nathan J Barrett of Floats Inside A Bubble