Submarine Cat (label)
26 November 2021 (released)
26 November 2021
Music has power. The power to change moods, to set hearts alight and to invigorate like no other medium. At its best it is three dimensional, almost tactile, and this album deserves to be up there among the best.
Like the best of Americana or Alt-Country, ‘People In Cars’ is a collection of stories, reflecting moods and emotions. With Felix Bechtolshiemer’s husky and wasted vocals to the fore the album conjures ghosts and wraiths from the murk of the music, drawing the listener deeper and deeper into the album so that there is nothing else to be observed.
The tales of drugs, death, dark emotions and the explorations of depression all bring their own characters to the fore. It reflects the circumstances of Felix life and the desperate feelings of putting his band on hold through the darkest days of the pandemic and lockdown.
Starting in June 2020, all the members of the band having taken day jobs as the venues and studios closed, each band member – Joe Hazell (guitars), Neil Findlay (Drums), Dani Ruiz Hernandez (Keys), Charlie Anderson (Bass) - recorded their parts individually and sent them to Bechtolscheimer to build into the new album. He had lost his father in the April and started writing additional songs for the album recording them with co-producer Oli Bayston, pedal steel player Joe Harvey-Whyte and drummer Liam Hutton in early 2021. It is a darker and more brooding album that their previous two albums but little surprise in that – to quote Felix “”I got a record that’s my favourite record I’ve ever made by a long way, and it’s the album I needed to make. I lost my dad, my uncle and my ex-partner last year, and my band, but I’ve got this record and I almost look at it like a bit of a shrine.”
For sure, it sounds like a personal statement but also one that so many of us can nod to. It is an album that reflects the moods of so many but somehow also holds a sense of hope – if we can survive all THIS, then we can move forward into the daylight.
A truly fine album and a certainty for my top ten of the year.