We’re pleased to bring you the premiere of The Stayawakes’ new album Dogs and Cats / Living Together (listen below), which is scheduled to be officially released on June 11, 2018. You can purchase the album here.
The band provided us with a track by track breakdown of the album. Check it out below while streaming the album.
TRACK BY TRACK
1 – Slumbers
We first recorded Slumbers as the B-side to our single from 2015, Summer Suicide, but we felt it was destined for greater things. It’s one that we love to open with live as it’s a good balance of up-tempo and melodic, so it felt like the right song to open the album with. We wanted the album to reflect what we do live. This version has come out sounding a bit like Ash; that shouldn’t come as a surprise as they were such an important band in our youth.
2 – Keepsakes
Keepsakes was the first song Andrew wrote for The Stayawakes. Until then we were just jamming Superchunk and Posies covers. Keepsakes really set the tone for our sound; driving, thick, fuzzy, melodic pop. We recently added a Moog to our line-up. It really packs a punch in this one.
Themes in this one are getting back together with old friends, smoking and chilling on a drive home. The lyric, “your rowdy friends have settled down” is pinched from a Hank Williams song, which Elliott Smith covered.
3 – Jake
We released Jake as the first single from the album in November last year. The sentiment to this song has a real posi vibe, and we’ve layered up a three-part vocal harmony in the chorus which is always fun to bash out live. PJ gets a few good licks in the solo and the video fittingly has a Dire Straits LP behind him, including a ludicrous scene with duelling Flying V’s!
4 – No Shame
This song pre-dates the formation of The Stayawakes. Andrew was listening to The Mountain Goats and recording a solo EP in Birmingham at the time. The bedroom he was sleeping in was also the live room, so he could literally play the songs in bed! There’s a line borrowed from Intense Thing by Ash, see if you can spot it. The lead guitar line owes a lot to bands like The Lemonheads, Dinosaur Jr and Buffalo Tom; country music of the ear bleeding variety.
5 – Little Explorer
We love playing this track live. There’s a lot of repetition, which builds at various moments in the song giving us all a chance to lock into a trance-like state. Our keyboard player Dave’s wife Ikumi has a cameo part in the song with a recital of Japanese spoken word over the top of the breakdown. We have no idea what she’s saying, and half expect to be arrested on touchdown when we tour Japan.
6 – High School Weirdness
The opener to side 2 of the record, this started as a post-rock wig-out that we used to jam in rehearsal, with the vocals coming much later. It’s a big, layered, dreamy sound that builds throughout, and gets quite frantic towards the end. We had to ask Justin Francis who mixed the album to tone the guitars down towards the end as we were worried they might incite road rage. The intro sample is a young Alex Lifeson from Rush.
7 – Inevitable Truth
Inevitable truth is 2 minutes and 46 seconds of no nonsense upbeat pop, and our latest single. Again, the country reference rears its head on this one with a Nashville-esque twang-tastic riff. Come to think of it, we probably could have fitted a pedal-steel solo in here if we had the time and resources. This is essentially our tribute to Bob Mould.
8 – Crrsed
Andrew wrote this one back at his parent’s place in Cowes on the IOW. He stole PJ’s acoustic for the weekend and cried this one out. The lyrics are self-pitiful but sonically we think it’s pretty in places. For the solo Andrew was left in the control room on his own with a bunch of pedals and a Jazzmaster and did his version of a shred.
9 – Sophie
Sophie sounds dead simple, but there’s a subtle underlying complexity to her that took a long time until we were confident enough to play live. It’s a slow song and warm-hearted prose which errs towards Andrew’s singer songwriter tendencies and tips its hat to the dad-rock section of our record collections. There is also a nod to Beezewax’s “The Snooze Is On” in the lick and vocally it’s influenced by some of the harmonies from their “South of Boredom” record.
10 – Overdue
Overdue is the records power-pop payoff. It’s another oldie, but we like to include it in our live set because it adds a different dynamic to the rest of our songs. Also, it gives the audience a chance to hear some vocals, even in the smallest, ear crushing venues. Justin really worked some magic into this mix, giving the outro a delicate and spine-tingling airiness.