Feature | Alburn track-by-track debut album

Three years ago, Alburn released their sophomore EP ‘Mouthful of Glass’.

Despite Pete Duthie (Guitar/Vocals) and Gee MacPhee (Guitar/Vocals) forming under the name in 2007, Drummer Danny Kelly and bassist Chris Hunter completed the line-up as we know it in 2012 with their sophomore EP marking the first release from the four-piece.

Following their EP release, the band performed shows across the UK and appeared at various festivals before taking a short break from the live scene between releases.

Now with a rejuvenated sound, Alburn are preparing to release their self-titled debut album.

Recorded with Neil Kennedy (Milk Teeth/Creeper) at Ranch Production House in Southampton and mastered by Brad Boatright (Rolo Tomassi) in Portland, the album is due for release on April 7th via Fractured Sound.

Ahead of the release and before the band head out on a six-date UK tour, we caught up with Alburn to chat through their debut album release.


Make You Mine

Gee MacPhee (Guitar/Vocals): I spent a while wrestling this to the ground for so much time that I was unsure if it was even any good. And I’m still unsure. I threw it down on the practice room floor, we all put the pieces together and it became a song. I think the choruses brought us together and opened up a new dimension to the band, in that we all sing a harmony, and I think this will carry on in our writing in the future.

Pete Duthie (Guitar/Vocals): This was one of the first new songs that Gee brought to the table and kind of paved the way for our new sound and happier choruses. Probably one of my favourite to play live due to its general rockness.

Danny Kelly (Drums): Yeah this is one of my favourites to play live too. It was the first song we wrote that was both angry and happy at the same time and that theme kind of stuck throughout the album.

Chris Hunter (Bass): For me, this is the song that defines a new direction for us as a band and gave us a path to experiment with different themes in our music that we weren’t used to visiting.

Send Me Up

Danny: I got to write the verse lyrics for this song which was weird for me. Normally when I write lyrics, I decide that they are rotten and bin them before they get a chance to be heard. Gee liked what I’d written and it suited his chorus. I helped out on a few others with lyrics and it was cool having that input.

Gee: Me and Pete wrote the music and the melodies for ‘Send Me Up’ in his living room in a couple of hours and brought it to the others at rehearsal the same evening and over the next few days it became a song. It’s about blindly fighting and desperately trying to keep something good alive, even when, in the end, you question your chances. It’s my favourite on the album because we all sing and it feels good.

Pete: This began as a little riff on GarageBand and one night when Gee came over to write, we finished the basis of this in my living room. This is one of our faster songs and another fun one to play live!

Form

Gee: ‘Form’ is another song that had been laying around a while, popping its ugly head up every now and then, and every time it did we’d grab it and add another feature to its face, usually a bruise or a scar, until it was finished…yet it still feels incomplete in a way.

Pete: I feel like this has been around forever in various forms (no pun intended). We finally finished it off before going in to record the album – it took ages for us to settle on the structure but it’s turned out a pretty unique song I think.

Barnhouse

Danny: Gee was persistent on changing the name of this track. I liked how it sounded and it reminds me of The Ranch, where we recorded. In fact, the original chorus mentioned the word Barnhouse come to think of it.

Gee: ‘Barnhouse’ isn’t even a real word, but it is now a real song. We just kept calling it that and it stuck. I think it began as a demo from Pete. We all got our hands on it and it became what it is today. It’s about change, as most of the album is, and finding self-worth and the feeling of home again.

Pete: Although Gee thinks that Barnhouse is not a word, it is actually a Neolithic settlement up in the Orkney Isles. The song is not actually named after this, but there we go. This song was a little demo I had kicking about on my laptop and I brought it to rehearsal, Gee worked his lyrical magic on it, Danny did his drum thing and Chris put in some meaty bass chords and we made a song!

Green Saloon


Gee: ‘Green Saloon’ is another song that came from Pete’s unending well of ideas and demos. We worked on it together for a while and I’m very glad we finished it in time for recording because I think it adds a different vibe to the album.

Pete: This was another little demo that I’ve had for a long time. Lyrically, the verses are about growing up and gaining perspective about the things that you thought were a hardship when you were young, but now see that you had it pretty good. The ending of this song is the heaviest thing we have ever done and has so many guitars and instruments at the end.

Catharsis

Gee: ‘Catharsis’ is an ancient little interlude that Pete wrote many many moons ago. Simple and sparse, but it feels so much more with the harmonies. We used to sing it in the old line-up and it felt right to put it in this album as a calming in the storm, I suppose. It feels like we’re in some kind of angelic choir inside an old cathedral when we rehearse it and gives people the illusion that we can sing well.

Cathexis

Gee: Chris and I had nothing to do with ‘Cathexis’, but I’m so very happy it exists. I get the feeling Pete and Danny wrote it in about 30 seconds, after a night out.

Danny: I’m pretty sure me and Pete were drunk when this was written?

Pete: Danny and I wrote the music to this in one night at his flat and sent it to Gee and Chris who thought we were crazy. I remember finishing the lyrics in the bunkhouse at the Ranch just before going to record them. The actual style of the vocals wasn’t decided until I started shouting into the mic though and it turned into some sort of New York Hardcore thing.

Lost; Faraway

Pete: I remember when Gee brought this to rehearsal and it was instantly a favourite to play live. A favourite of the girlfriends also for some reason…

Danny: It kinda opened up the boundary for us in terms of what we thought we could get away with. It’s the poppiest, fastest and shortest song we’ve written. Took me a while to shake Toph’s ‘Green Day’ comparison, but eventually I came to terms with it.

Gee: I started writing ‘Lost; Faraway’ very late one night and finished it off the next morning. I guess it’s just a straight forward love song. The verses are how things are and the choruses are how things could be. I wanted to keep an element of simplicity to the lyrics and the music and I think the song reflects that. It felt kinda weird writing something quite happy sounding for once but also very refreshing so I just went with it. I showed it to the others, Pete put a solo over the choruses and it was done.

Chris: ‘Lost’ started out as an acoustic demo, like most Alburn songs, but post-mutilation it turned into ‘Green Day-esque’ punk song leading us into waters we had never tread before. I think we enjoy the fast nature of lost and allows us to go a bit more crazy when we play live. We set out to write better choruses on this album and I think this song reflects that along with a few others.

Through Salt & Water

Chris: ‘Salt’ is the brainchild of Danny and I think its one of our favourites to play live. This throws a 90s grunge curveball near the end of the album.

Pete: When Danny first shared this demo, I wasn’t too sure on the Nu-Metal-esque sound (he’s a big Nickelback fan) but once the vocals were on it all made sense and I love it. I get to do a rad solo too.

Danny: This guitar riff is embedded in my girlfriends head. I was writing this in my living room while she was beside me and being a drummer, not a guitarist, it took me a while to get it right, so she was understandably losing the will to live after the 100th attempt at it. It’s the song I’m most proud of on the album.

Gee: This song mostly came together through many phone recordings sent between me and Danny. He had the music and we spent a while trying to work out the singing. It’s about losing love and the period afterwards when all you can do is float along through the dark, looking for the light. Sometimes it’s there beside you all along. Pete’s solo is probably my favourite part of the album and I feel like I’m listening to another band when I hear it, which is a good thing.

Witches

Danny: It took a bit of convincing to get Gee and Pete on board with re-visiting this song. ‘Witches’ was originally an acoustic track on the ‘Engines’ EP, but we had always played it as a full band live. Normally an acoustic version would follow on from a full band version, so it was cool to do it the other way around.

Pete: We’ve released this before as an acoustic song and Gee and I weren’t too sure about putting it on the album, but the demo turned out good so we gave it a go. I love the way Neil has produced this and it pushed us to try out some new techniques with the piano and electronic drums. Lyrically, I’ve always loved this song and I’m glad people will get to hear it in all it’s glory.

Gee: ‘Witches’ was written roughly 8 years ago. I think it’s something to do with being haunted by a demon and this driving you to taking your own life. It started off as an acoustic song and very slowly over the years evolved into something more.

Danny (again): Although none of us are now religious, there are a few God/Satan references throughout the album. Gee can’t remember exactly what the song is about, but I’ve always saw it as a metaphor for being driven to destruction by something that doesn’t exist and losing your beliefs.

Pre-order Alburn’s self-titled album now via Bandcamp!

For a taster of the new album, watch Alburn’s video for ‘Lost; Faraway’ below:

Post Author: Claire White

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