UK quintet Morning Parade have dropped their debut, self-titled full-length, and it's an exceptional album layered with emotion and overflowing with dark, invigorating alt-rock. With the slightest tinge of industrial elements brooding over driving guitars, crashing percussion, and impassioned melodies, these 11 tracks explore that territory between dark and light, fear and hope. There’s the heavy-hearted and reflective “Running Down The Aisle,” the contrast of catchy hooks and dark harmonies in “Close To Your Heart,” and the nostalgic “Half Litre Bottle,” dripping with regret and laced with tired thoughts. This one’s not instrumentally dense either. “Under The Stars” is a digitally-induced dream come true, “Headlights” is a perfect blend of ambient and alt-rock, and “Speechless” showcases vibrant instrumentals, with its gorgeous piano making way to crashing percussion and soaring vocals. From start to finish, this is an album constructed with precision and heart. Give it a spin, and go behind-the-scenes with guitarist Chad Thomas, who has compiled a list of the band’s five highlight moments from making the album. Check it out below and grab Morning Parade, out now via Astralwerks.
1. Having the pleasure of working in Damon Albarns' Studio 13: We had a lot of toys at our disposal — from vintage synth's to an array of ethnic bells. It was surreal seeing so much history there, with a lot of Blur and Gorillaz memorabilia. There was a funny moment when we were recording a piano part for "Speechless," in which we were recording in the control room. We had the door shut and Andy [Hayes, drums] was guarding the door like an east-end bouncer, making sure no one would burst in and ruin the take! A few moments later, Damon Albarn came through to get something out of the control room, and an unaware Andy holds out his hand and stops Damon in his tracks, yelling 'you can't go in the Studio!' Ha, I don't think Damon has ever been stopped from going into his own studio before, — Andy was a little red faced! [If you need a doorman please send us a message.]
2. The album is a snapshot of our lives and perspectives at the time of making the record: I guess it has the full spectrum of emotions and catalysts that we all experience at some point on our life journeys. We seem to take everyday situations that may seem [to be] only a drop in the ocean when peering from a galaxy deep in the Cosmo's. When you're faced with these situations in your own life, [though, they] can seem bigger than the universe, There's a lot of hope in the record — and truth as well. We can only talk about things from our perspective at that time. It's ever-changing, but [I] hope that the messages we transmit resonate with everybody in some way.
3. We also had the pleasure of working with producer David Kosten at various studios, recording here, there, and everywhere in London: Kosten was very good at pulling the best out of us, and also being more creative and spontaneous in the recording process. We were recording at Rak studios, where we were trying to come up with a bass line for a section in "Running Down The Aisle." I picked up the bass and was playing around with a rhythm part I had in my head. After playing around, I gave the bass back to Phil [Titus] so he could try out some stuff for recording, but Kosten just sat there smiling, with the recording button held tightly down, and said "that's the take!" It's funny how he could record jams and grab the essence of moments [while they were being played].
4. Our final track "Born Alone" has always had a special place in our hearts, summing up more than just the album, but our lives at the time as well: [From] life's unpredictability to the feeling of the unknown, this track is all about laying your past and your fears aside, [finding] comfort in your friends, and riding life's uncertainties together. It seems to be good at laying things to rest, as we normally end most live shows with it! It was fun to record the gang vocals at the end of the track. We pulled in everyone — from our manager to our good friends — to sing along with us. It was a great way to close the album, and it was also a defining moment, realizing [that] together we had gotten to the end of making our debut album.
5. Writing the album was one of the highlights of our journey so far: [It was great] being able to work with producers like Jason Cox and David Kosten, and also really getting to live in certain places, and jam, and get out all that's in your head. At times, though, it can be tough — probably the toughest moment was picking the album track listing. We all had pieces of paper and lists of our preferred album listings. We met up at our managers flat and basically had an evening of paper shaking, Charade-influenced rants, until a list was finally agreed on.