Interview with Stewart Harris bass player and vocalist with Cambridge band The Scissors about their new album “Look Good In Cheap Clothes” which is released on German Shepherd Records on December 7th 2018.
Where and when was the new album recorded?
We recorded it mostly over the summer and early autumn, in our own little rehearsal space; trying to do it fast this time to see if we could make an album more quickly. When you get it down faster, it’s a better snapshot of where you are at the time; hopefully a more coherent album – which was especially important given the more diverse sounds we were using.
On that point in some areas this album feels like a completely new direction for the band with different sounds – do you agree?
Yes, we wanted to broaden our palette, and come up with sounds that fit the songs, not worrying that we had to sound a certain way. Part of that came out of an opportunity a short while back to do a backing track for Ian Moss’ spoken word project. That was a different way of working, which we really enjoyed, so (as well as re-working that track to fit our own words) we tried a similar pared-down approach on a couple of other songs too.
Give is a brief summary of each tune – describing what its about
– ‘Plug me in’: examining our (toxic) relationship with social media channels. The insidious nature of how its positioned in our lives now. Sonically, a bit of an early 80s new wave vibe on this one;
– ‘Parking cars’: ambition and personal disintegration considered via the metaphor of metropolitan traffic management. Garage punky old-school Scissors sound;
– ‘Death engineer’: a reflective and moody thing about the horrors and ubiquity of inbuilt obsolescence. Stewart gets to play his upright bass on this one, with Simon on Fender Rhodes piano. May contain dangerous hints of lounge jazz.
– ‘Look good in cheap clothes’: ‘we all are undressed in the end’ – pretty self explanatory, this one. The backing track started out as part of the Ian Moss spoken word project, and Stewart wrote new words for it.
– ‘I dream in X-ray vision’: Another garage punky one, about feelings of isolation shot through with ‘b’-movie imagery. Seeking a soulmate from the Black Lagoon;
– ‘Edgelands’: about those strange between-places where urban areas meet the countryside, in a quasi-mythic wasteland of forgotten and unwanted detritus and overgrown weeds. A playground for the adventurous and trap for the unwary;
– ‘When is a boy not a boy?’: to thine own self be true, regardless, essentially. Thunderous lo-fi garage punk;
– ‘Ufotopia’: strident celebratory psych-glam-stompf that partly disguises a lyric about wilful self-deception. This track bookends with the opening track; but this time, wariness of the internet and its plastic pleasures has been discarded, embracing the fake with wild abandon. At least until it all fades away, leaving a lone sparkly piano playing in the void…
Other than you being in about five other bands are the others up to anything else?
Simon is going to pimp up his new tricycle with some flower stickers; Toby is staying in a lot and writing to his penpal; Huw, we suspect, is building a space rocket in his back yard. Per ardua ad astra!