Friday, June 3, 2011

Anthems for the Estranged (demo)

This demo was recorded and mixed over a weekend at Tony Nesci's home studio in Adelaide. Surprisingly, I didn't write up a diary entry about the recording, and I don't remember much of the details.

I remember that the recording went pretty smoothly, and that we got all songs down in 2 or 3 takes. This was helped by the fact we used to rehearse at the studio so felt pretty comfortable in the surroundings. We were also pretty well rehearsed. I also remember wearing the worst pants in the world to the sessions - grotesque royal blue surf pants that our bassist Wayne's partner Theresa used to refer to as disco pants! What the hell was I thinking? I also remember sitting out in the garden during a break and making a Daisy chain - jeez, what a hippy dipshit I was in those days!

The sounds is fantastic for a cheaply recorded demo. However, the sound clarity makes the limitations in Andrew's vocals all too obvious - we probably should have put him lower in the mix or drowned him out with reverb! IMHO our drummer Mark was the best indie drummer in Adelaide, and the drum sound showcases his abilities well. I was the sole guitarist in the band, and given that every other indie band had around two guitarists, I tended to overplay to compensate. I was also in the midst of my Ride-influenced guitar effects obsession, and this reduces the clarity of some of my playing.

The demo featured three of our best half dozen tracks. Our best track, Haunt, was recorded for an earlier demo, but all I have is the version I taped when it was first played on local radio station MMM (now 3D). I will post this sometime soon.

So onto the demo......

Flood is a six minute brooding atmospheric indie pop track. Mark's drums sound awesome. My guitar in the verses is far to busy - let's blame Johnny Marr! The spooky guitar effects in the middle worked well live but didn't cut it in the studio - no lights and dry ice there! As for the guitar solo, it was influenced by a certain heavy metal band from Birmingham, and IMHO works well in this context.

Autumn Color Haze is another atmospheric indie pop track, but this time at a faster clip. I think the guitar effects work well in this song, and Andrew's vocals work well. I never liked the key change towards the end of the song - I always felt it was jarring.

This Peaceful Place is pure indie pop. It was one of the first songs we wrote with this lineup, and was written on an acoustic guitar before my Ride influenced guitar effects obsession commenced. And try as I may, I couldn't work my guitar effects or a guitar solo into the song without detracting from it! So it stayed pretty much the same as it was when written.

Circle She Is was my least favourite song. But everyone else liked it so I just had to accept it. The worst aspect about the song is that it often got us compared with Ned's Atomic Dustbin, who in my opinion were the most turgid piece-of-crap band in the entire fucking universe. I took the attitude that even if I disliked the song, I might as well enjoy what I played in it. I also use to play it with a guitar sound on the verge of feedback, and got some great sounds live. That aspect isn't really captured in this version, unfortunately.

The demo never had an official title. I always liked that idea of having a song with the pretentious title Anthem for the Estranged, and since there's noone here to argue with me I'm gonna adapt that for use as the demo title!

Lucid Ocean - 1992 - Anthems for the Estranged (demo)

01. Flood
02. Autumn Color Haze
03. This Peaceful Place
04. Circle She Is

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