On 2 June 2014, the exquisite Gabby Young & Other Animals return, with their anticipated third album, ‘One Foot In Front of The Other’ out on Gift of the Gab Records, distributed through Universal.
‘It’s definitely a step up from the last album,’ says Gabby. ‘I think I’m maturing with each record. This one is more introspective and it’s definitely the most vulnerable I’ve been. I’ve put everything into it.’
‘One Foot In Front of the Other’ still covers the musical styles her fans will be accustomed to, and like her previous two albums, continues to defy labels, effortlessly moving between moments of jazz, opera, folk and cabaret. But the moment the album opens with the swooning romance of ‘Sur La Lane (A French Ditty)’ translated as ‘Over The Moon,’ it feels like this is indeed a step up from the last.
‘The songs are very personal. There are some things I’m singing about here I wouldn’t talk about to my closest friends, which I know is sounds silly, as I’m telling everyone...’
Take ‘Fear of Flying,’ a hands-down future classic in the same vein as Gabby’s ‘We’re All In This Together’ – a fan favourite from her 2010 debut album. It’s one of the album’s more simple songs, yet thanks to beautiful melody and Gabby’s delicate vocals, the song slowly builds with the help of some clever percussion into a soaring torch song, becoming perhaps the album’s finest moment.
‘It’s about being so fiercely independent I refused to let people get involved in my career and life, but I am so thankful I got over that and let people in. Those people have made my life so much better. They help me conquer my fears, which I have too many of – including the fear that I might be scared of flying, which is crazy.’
Other highlights? The haunting ‘Another Ship,’ which Gabby calls her ‘epic pirate song’ on longing to go home, followed perfectly by the love song ‘Saviour’ written with and about partner and producer, Stephen Ellis. And then there’s ever pretty ‘Smile,’ showcasing Gabby’s continually impressive vocal range over xylophone and muted drums, a song she’s confident sums up her whole goal in life. ‘I want to make everyone smile, it’s the main reason I write songs and perform, so this is a pinnacle song for me.’
‘I never want to write purely sad music,’ says Gabby. ‘All my songs have to have hope in them. With this album I’d written the majority and realised it was all downbeat. But I always strive for the right amount of light and shade, so we worked on adding more upbeat songs.’
So fear not, the ‘circus swing’ (Clive Anderson BBC Radio 2) moments are still here, with the Animal’s brass section still being put through their paces. There’s the infectious ‘I’ve Improved,’ the vibrant first single out April 14 written after a moment of enlightenment on the band’s Middle Eastern tour, plus tracks like the Balkan-flavoured ‘Time’ and ‘The Devil Has Moved In’ both complete with wild trumpets, keys and percussion aplomb.
And don’t miss the album’s final track, ‘Back Where We Started.’ Written solely by Stephen Ellis, it’s the most exuberant 4 minutes on the album. A fury of calypso inspired beats and brass, it’s everything you want from a Gabby Young song, complete with a sing-along chorus, steel drums and tropical tambourines.
‘I was over the moon when Stephen said he’d written it for us. I’m aware our fans come to see us live to have a good time, and I don’t ever want to change that. The fun tracks are the most enjoyable to perform too – so they’ll never be ‘Animals album without them.’
‘One Foot In Front Of The Other’ is out June 2.