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ANDY BELL

Andy Bell

Flicker

    'Flicker’ is the second album from Ride guitarist and songwriter Andy Bell. Written almost as a conversation with his teenage self, it follows the triumphant solo debut that was 2020’s ‘The View From Halfway Down’.

    This 18-track double album finds Andy moving towards classic songwriting, notably on the reflective lead single ‘Something Like Love’, the strident harmonies of ‘World of Echo’, the joyous refracted loops of ‘Jenny Holzer B. Goode’ and the fuzz-laden late-’60s balladeering of ‘Love Is The Frequency’. Stylistically, the four sides of ‘Flicker’ take in everything from modern psychedelia to fingerpicked folk, whimsical baroque pop, and Byrdsian 12-string beauty. It’s a breathtaking array and makes it even more abundantly clear that Andy has entered a purple patch in his songwriting, hitting a new velocity in contrast to his initial inhibitions about becoming a solo artist. He gradually overcame these after the passing of David Bowie in 2016, with the Thin White Duke’s bountiful 50 years of music providing inspiration from beyond the grave.

    ‘Flicker’ is also an apt description for the genesis of the album. At the start of 2021, Andy returned to the stems of the recording sessions he made at Beady Eye and Oasis bandmate Gem Archer’s North London studio and added fuel to the fire, writing melodies and lyrics and turning them into fully formed songs. The same sessions were also the starting point for ‘The View From Halfway Down’ and this album picks up where that one left off, quite literally, with the very first words being “I was halfway down…”. This is the first of several playful, possibly intentional, references to albums and song titles that litter the record like a musical breadcrumb trail.

    As much as this is a modern sounding and forward-looking record, it’s also very much about looking back, something that is clear from the first glimpse of the front cover – a previously unseen outtake from Joe Dilworth’s photo sessions for the inner sleeve of Ride’s debut album, ‘Nowhere’.

    “When I think about ‘Flicker’, I see it as closure,” explains Andy. “Most literally, on a half-finished project from over six years ago, but also on a much bigger timescale. Some of these songs date back to the ’90s and the cognitive dissonance of writing brand new lyrics over songs that are 20-plus years old makes it feel like it is, almost literally, me exchanging ideas with my younger self.”

    This conversation takes place across ‘Flicker’’s 18 tracks. Essentially it advises us to stop worrying about the future and enjoy each day as it comes, embracing the crushing, unpredictable lows of life as much as the almighty highs of being in love. Some of it remains unspoken, taking place sonically rather than verbally: the album has a reflective, meditative feeling throughout, exploring many aspects of mental health, and the beautiful stillness of first single ‘Something Like Love’ could almost be a musical salve to the heartache 19-year-old Andy poured into ‘Vapour Trail’ in 1990.

    “The ‘Flicker’ I’m talking about in the lyrics is that flame that makes a person who they are,” explains Andy. “I wanted to find that in myself, so I went back to the teenage me – a technique I learned in therapy and have been doing ever since – and got some advice on how to live and be happy in the 2020s.

    “‘The View From Halfway Down’ was about turning 50 in a very weird time of introspection. ‘Flicker’ is about gathering the tools to equip myself mentally for life in 2022 and beyond – post-pandemic, post-Brexit, post-truth.”

    TRACK LISTING

    1. The Sky Without You
    2. It Gets Easier
    3. World Of Echo
    4. Something Like Love
    5. Jenny Holzer B. Goode
    6. Way Of The World
    7. Riverside
    8. We All Fall Down
    9. No Getting Out Alive
    10. The Looking Glass
    11. Love Is The Frequency
    12. Gyre And Gimble
    13. Lifeline
    14. She Calls The Tune
    15. Sidewinder
    16. When The Lights Go Down
    17. This Is Our Year
    18. Holiday In The Sun

    Andy Bell

    The View From Halfway Down

      Ride guitarist/singer Andy Bell releases his debut solo album The View From Halfway Down on October 9. The product of a gradual, four-year process and finished during lockdown, the album was entirely written and recorded by Andy, engineered by Gem Archer and mastered by Heba Kadry.

      Back in 2016, Andy was inspired by David Bowie’s death to be more proactive about finishing his songs, more confident about sharing them and to channel all of this into finally making a solo album. He laid down some tracks in former Beady Eye and Oasis bandmate Gem’s studio, but got diverted when Ride’s live reunion blossomed into a full return. A run of two albums, an EP and two world tours later, it would take a pandemic to give Andy the space to complete The View From Halfway Down.

      “I’ve always wanted to make a solo album, I’ve always said I would do it, although I never imagined it happening like, or sounding like, this one does,” explains Andy. “I’d been sitting on this pile of almost finished tracks, along with all the other hundreds of ideas that had fallen by the wayside since I’ve been making music. Lockdown gave me the opportunity to find a way to present it to the world.

      “The album is not about songwriting. There aren’t many verses or choruses, because this album is about sounds, a listening experience.”

      From the ecstatic psych pop of ‘Love Comes In Waves’, to the heady loops of ‘Indica’ and deeply groove-led ‘Skywalker’, the eight tracks mix summery melodies with soundscapes and studio experimentation. The end result sits neatly between Ride’s widescreen shoegaze and GLOK’s textured electronics, variously inspired by The Stone Roses, Spacemen 3, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Beta Band, Stereolab, Neu!, Can, John Fahey, The Kinks, The La’s, The Who and the United States Of America.

      As for the album title, it comes from a particularly dark episode of BoJack Horseman and a poem that scriptwriter Alison Tafel wrote for the penultimate show. The spoiler-free version of the story goes like this: “The poem describes someone committing suicide by jumping to their death and the regret the protagonist experiences when he sees ‘the view from halfway down’. Although, of course, it’s too late to change what’s going to happen. I read this poem as having a message of suicide prevention: if you could see the view from halfway down, you would never go through with anything that would end your life. I’ve never been suicidal, but I felt really moved by this brilliant poem when I watched the show during Ride’s US tour in Autumn 2019. It’s an incredible message.

      “There was a small kind of a parallel with me, sitting at home in London in March 2020. In the early stages of lockdown, you could feel the tension in the air, causing what felt like a global panic attack. But, in common with what I’ve heard from others who can experience anxiety for no reason in their everyday lives, I felt strangely calm in the midst of all of this, seeing things in my life very clearly. Such clarity allowed me to finally compile this record. In a way, to see my life flash before me and be able to curate moments of it into a 40-minute listening experience, then find a title that would fit.

      “My upcoming 50th brought everything more sharply into focus. If you imagine that my entire life was a freefall jump to my death, and you were feeling optimistic about me reaching 100 like my Gran did and getting a telegram from the Queen, this album would be ‘the view from halfway down’.”

      So there you have it. The near death of a cartoon anti-hero and the actual death of a music legend, feeling the calm within a global pandemic and a musical turning point halfway through life all add up to one glorious, technicolour whole.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Love Comes In Waves
      2. Indica
      3. Ghost Tones
      4. Skywalker
      5. Aubrey Drylands Gladwell
      6. Cherry Cola
      7. I Was Alone
      8. Heat Haze On Weyland Road

      Andy Bell

      Another View

        All formats come with a free Piccadilly Records EOY Sampler CD whilst stocks last.

        Compilation album featuring Pye Corner Audio remixed tracks from 2020’s “the view from halfway down” Andy Bell’s critically acclaimed album + some unreleased acoustic versions. 

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: In a brilliant twist, Pye Corner Audio reworked a bunch of Andy Bell's tunes for a series of 12's recently, and the results were stellar, this Cd compilation sees all of those singles and b-sides come together for a superb meeting of minds and a wonderfully rewarding listen.

        TRACK LISTING

        1.Indica (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
        2.Skywalker (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
        3.Cherry Cola (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
        4.Love Comes In Waves (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
        5.I Was Alone (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
        6.Indica (Pye Corner Audio Remix – GLOK Re-edit)
        7.The Commune (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
        8.Plastic Bag (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
        9.The Commune
        10.Plastic Bag
        11.Love Comes In Waves (Acoustic Version)
        12.Cherry Cola (Acoustic Version)
        13.Skywalker (Acoustic Version)
        14.Perfume (Acoustic Version)
        15.The Commune (Acoustic Version)

        Andy Bell

        All On You EP

          Four tracks recorded by Ride guitarist and singer Andy Bell for radio sessions, including a cover of 1990 Mancunian cult classic ‘Perfume’ by Paris Angels.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Love Comes In Waves (Acoustic Version)
          2. Cherry Cola (Acoustic Version)
          3. Skywalker (Acoustic Version)
          4. Perfume (Acoustic Version)

          Andy Bell

          See My Friends EP

            The two tracks from Andy Bell’s debut solo single reworked by Pye Corner Audio, with the original tracks remastered by Heba Kadry.

            TRACK LISTING

            1.The Commune (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
            2.Plastic Bag (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
            3.The Commune
            4.Plastic Bag


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