If your record collection looks anything like mine, the majority my vinyl includes albums bought in the 1980s straight through to the time when the music press was screaming that CDs were the future and that vinyl was for a dying breed of dinosaurs. While I’ve never much gotten into vinyl during this new current vinyl revival (other than scourging bins for 80s and 90s gems previously missed), I do have a very warm spot for music from that period and sounds reminiscent off that era.
What is it – it is partially the brilliance of the vinyl format itself and part (an obvious part) the music itself. It’s no wonder I can get quite thrilled even when listening to my beloved Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and This Mortal Coil on CD and yes, even MP3s. I was recently introduced to a Boston-based collective called The Pull of Autumn, triggering a cool flashback to that era but with many modern twists. Only some are based in Boston – others are on the West coast, the UK and even Germany.
The Pull of Autumn’s sophomore album ‘Afterglow’ releases this week via Boston-based label RBM Records. This 15-track offering follows their debut album ‘The Pull of Autumn’, released in 2018 on the same label. This is an album for fans of Talking Heads, Brian Eno, Popol Vuh, David Bowie and early Velvet Underground. Standout tracks include ‘Not Coming Down, ‘Crack The Red’, ‘Stained Glass Windows’, ‘Trouble Time’, Hey America!’, ‘Sitting By The Window’ and ‘Equinox’.
Lead track ‘Not Coming Down’ is a collaboration between Daniel Darrow from Johanna’s House of Glamour and Luke ‘Skyscraper’ James, frontman of British new wave pioneers (and I.R.S. recording artist) Fashion. The accompanying video was created by Brian Rapoza from the band Holy Cow.
Luke Skyscraper had a taste of fame when I.R.S. founder Miles Copeland signed Fashion to his label for their 1979 debut album ‘Product Perfect’. Between 1978 and 1980, they played shows with UB40, Hazel O’Connor, Billy Idol and Toyah Willcox, toured the UK with U2 and The B-52’s, and enjoyed stadium tours of the UK and USA opening for The Police. Back then, the recently formed Duran Duran opened their shows. In June 1980, Luke Skyscraper left Fashion after the band’s final London gig with U2.
A ‘super group’ of sorts, The Pull of Autumn involves numerous other notable musicians, including Fred Abong, founding member of Belly with Tanya Donelly and an early member of Throwing Muses; James Rao (Orange Cake Mix); Stewart Anderson (Boyracer); Apolonia (Seasurfer); Richard Vincent Adams (Hood, The Declining Winter); Bruce MacLeod (Johanna’s House of Glamour, Underwater Kites), British singer Mina Hunt, pianist Maria Kuznetsova, Jeanne Batting (Spindle Shanks), and Matthew Darrow (The Woods Decay and Fall).
The painting ‘Parliament Hill’, featured on the cover artwork was created by James Johnston, founder of Gallon Drunk and also a former member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and recording and touring aritst with PJ Harvey, Lydia Lunch, Ulan Bator, Barry Adamson and Faust.
‘Afterglow’ represents a progression from the collective’s debut offering. The recordings are far more flushed-out, the tracks more varied and with many more musicians on board. This one twists and turns into a lot of different sounds and voices, with all contributors bring their voices and vision to the music.
“This album is really exciting to me as so many other musicians have reached out to contribute to the new music. All of the artists on board have been playing and releasing music in their respective bands for some time now. Luke Skyscraper James is a brilliant songwriter and I’m glad to have him on board. This album to me is just an amazing moment in my life as a musician. I love all of these tunes,” says Daniel Darrow.
“Afterglow has given me the experience of creating with other likeminded artists too. Just folks who love creating and have Little regard for popular acceptance on any level. These musicians create out of love of the love of making music. Take Stewart Anderson of Boyracer as an example. He’s been playing and releasing music from Boyracer and other bands for over 20 years, all in the spirit the musicians share. The Pull of Autumn has moved forward with trying to incorporate even more genres into our music. One of my goals as a musician is to blur the line from genres and style into just music. I think we have grown in our ability to surprise the listener. There are several curveballs on this album”.
As of July 25, ‘The Pull of Autumn’ LP will be available via online stores and streaming platforms, as well as Bandcamp at https://thepullofautumn.bandcamp.com/album/afterglow.