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Powys 1999

    London band Stats announce their new album ‘Powys 1999’, due for release via Memphis Industries. While the band’s critically acclaimed debut album ‘Other People’s Lives’ - loved by everyone from Elton John to Phoebe WallerBridge - was recorded in a two-day burst, capitalising on a gap in frontman Ed Seed’s busy schedule touring with Dua Lipa, ‘Powys 1999’ is different. The band decamped to a residential studio in Wales near where Seed grew up in Powys to record the record, an area is known for “farming, forestry, tourism, and a low-key but significant military presence,” but it was also Seed’s parents’ generation of incomers and their motivations that fascinated him.

    There’s a dense narrative to the album that explores personal upbringing - and the potential untrustworthy memories that come with such reflection - along with the industrial, financial and political landscape of the countryside. This is not an indulgent and saccharine plunge into childhood. “It's not nostalgic,” Seed says. “It’s about the past but also the future. Living another way doesn’t seem so possible now for technological and financial reasons - and I was seeking inspiration from the people I knew who tried to do that.” Plus, the narrative backdrop is just that: a backdrop. “It's got to be fun,” says Seed. “It’s got to bang. As much of that stuff that needs to come across will come across. If I was literally writing songs that were: ‘here's a song about reservoir’ then it’s going to be super dull. If you have something that’s so exciting to listen to then you can kind of say what you want and people might take it in or might take something else.”

    And bang the album does - from the Sparks-esque ‘On The Tip Of My Tongue’ to the pulsing dancefloor rager of ‘Kiss Me Like It’s Over’ via the electro-pop-funk swagger of ‘Naturalise Me’ and the stirring piano stabs and vocal harmonies of ‘Travel With Me Through This Ghost World’ (featuring Emmy The Great). The record flows like the rolling hills that surrounded its creation. The band being locked away living and eating and playing together also drew out the deep musical bond they share.

    TRACK LISTING

    Come With Me
    On The Tip Of My Tongue
    Old Flames
    Naturalise Me
    Kiss Me Like It’s Over
    Out Of Body
    From A High Sky
    Travel With Me Through This Ghost World
    Innocence
    If Only

    “If there was a mission it was to create something like absurd office funk,” says Stats’ Ed Seed, recalling the birth of his band. He was working a series of banal London office jobs, but rather than switch off or despair, Seed used this conventionally sterile backdrop for creative inspiration. “It was about taking things that are considered boring or are overlooked,” he says. “If you stare at anything long enough, it becomes weird.”

    Staring into the infinite oddness of office life was interrupted when Seed “fluked” his way into La Roux’s band - which itself proved a further inspiration for the evolution of Stats. “I'd always been in scrappy indie bands,” he recalls. “Then I met Elly and her crew and thought ‘wow’. This kind of pop music, I always thought it only happened over in Hammersmith, you had to have tens of thousands of pounds and a major label. But I realised you didn’t need a huge budget to make something more stylish than your average band.”

    This was a turning point for Seed, recognising he could create his own contemporary version of DIY art pop. “That gave me confidence,” he reflects. “I wanted Stats to be quite theatrical. I wanted it to be strangely glamorous, in a Roxy Music or Pet Shop Boys sort of way. Something that’s glamorous and quite silly. Those bands are very serious about being very silly.”

    Debut album “Other People’s Lives”, recorded at RAK studios with the full Stats band (Ed Seed – vox, guitar, John Barrett -drums, Stu Barter - bass, Duncan Brown - guitar, Nicole Robson – keyboards, Iso Waller-Bridge – keyboards, vox) is about investigating the gaps in the stories we tell about our lives. Says Ed, “the world encourages me to experience my life as a narrative: a story in which I am the lead character, going on a journey, moving towards the discovery and realisation of an authentic self. Other people’s lives are presented to me as coherent, relatable stories, full of passion and travel and wonder. But my story makes no sense: it is full of contradictions and formless subplots, and I barely feel like the same actor from one day to the next - let alone find any meaning in it.”

    Musically Other People’s Lives is in many ways a time-stamp of a record, something that captures the now, the fleeting, the fickle and the forgotten – like that perfect moment lost on the dance floor. Yet the album avoids being tied to a time and place, ricocheting between 70s art rock, 80s synth grooves and cosmic disco, presented honestly and experimentally via the all-encompassing prism of pop music.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Duncan from Dutch Uncles hipped me to Stats a few months back (Memphis Industries fam innit), and I was on board instantly. Following the same absurdist pop route as Fujiya & Miyagi or Yacht, but with a touch of Roxy Music glamour, some Talking Heads vocal nods and a whole lot of DFA-style indie dance grooving, Stats are 2019's answer to Hot Chip, Metronomy and Holy Ghost.

    TRACK LISTING

    I Am An Animal
    There Is A Story I Tell About My Life
    Rhythm Of The Heart
    Lose It
    A Change Of Scenery
    Other People's Lives
    Raft
    From A High Sky
    The Family Business
    A Man Who Makes The Weather
    Never Loved Anyone


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