'Cocoon Machina', the debut album by Draw Me Stories, is expansive, intensely rhythmic and refreshingly eccentric.
The album, which will be released on Glasstone Records in February 2013, is the band’s first time working with producer Charlie Francis (REM, Turin Brakes, Future of the Left). In particular, Francis was drawn to the band's unique sound.
"From the first time I met Draw Me Stories I thought they were impossible to categorise - or what we used to call originality", states Francis.
Formed in 2008, Draw Me Stories consist of Carl Hodgetts (vocals & guitar), Samuel Souter (drums & samples), Mathieu Albasser (bass & synth) and more recently, Joanne Blake (percussion & synth). After self-releasing an acoustic LP and 'The Sky and the Mirror EP' (2009), it was their experimental double A-side 'Oars & Becomes The Hunted' (2010) that attracted the interest of Glasstone Records. Immediately after signing, the double A-side was re-released with remixes from You Love Her Cos She's Dead (Kitsuné/Glasstone) and Belgian electro-punk outfit, Tex Taiwan (Glasstone). Draw Me Stories had shifted dramatically since their earlier, folk-tinged releases - both in musical approach and confidence.
'Cocoon Machina', too, symbolises a new musical approach - and an adventurous leap forward: its landscape is awash with infectious tribal rhythms, abstract lyricism, vivacious guitar arpeggios and pulsating bass sections.
For the first time, Draw Me Stories have added colour through synthesisers, percussion and samples. These elements, however, are overlaid sparingly onto traditional - almost primitive - instrumentation. Importantly, they provide a sense of space in what is a largely minimalist record, where individual instruments and sounds are easily discerned and appreciated. Nowhere is this better realised than on the epic bookend tracks, 'Birdsong' and 'Blood Follows Grain, Grain Follows Blood'.
At times, the album hints at gothic pop, particularly on 'Animals' and 'We Saw Things (Without Our Faces)', where ominous synth lines, sweeping arpeggios and distorted vocals crawl over intelligent drum and bass interaction. The middle of the album is arguably the most experimental; the sounds of 'Black Water Cave' and 'Kaleidoscope' bear little resemblance to any of their indie contemporaries. And, well, 'Human Machine' and 'Our Whole Bodies' are beautiful examples of electro-balladry.
"For the first time, it was not only putting a couple of songs together, it was about creating an atmosphere - a 50 minute piece of music", explains Mathieu. Even down to the self-designed album art, it was clear that that they envisaged 'Cocoon Machina' to be something that is increasingly rare in the music industry: a 'body of work'; a story. "We have stuck to creating music that comes naturally to us – perhaps this alienates us somewhat but it’s this that makes us unique as a band", says Samuel. The result is an album that, according to Carl, borrows "more from a film soundtrack than the traditional indie album".
Nonetheless, Draw Me Stories have created something that is coherently their own.
released February 4, 2013
All songs written and performed by Draw Me Stories
Lyrics written by Carl Hodgetts
Recorded at Musicbox Studios, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Mixed and mastered by Charlie Francis
Additional instrumentation provided by Charlie Francis
Design and image concept by Matt Needle & Samuel Souter
Cover artwork by Samuel Souter
Our sincerest thanks go to Charlie Francis, Musicbox Studios, and the Cathays Community Centre in Cardiff
Animals is the first single taken from Draw Me Stories’ debut album 'COCOON MACHINA', to be released 4th February 2013. The
single, and album, which will be released on Glasstone Records, is the band's first time working with the outstanding producer, Charlie Francis (REM, Turin Brakes, Future of the Left)....more