Peddling the sort of widescreen, full-fat, parental advisory schlock rock that makes you realise that life is, indeed, a cabaret (even if it is a twisted, dark and decidedly alarming one), Lovecraft are the most refreshing, disturbing and theatrical musical troupe the city’s seen since Deafschool.
For the past decade or so, they’ve been brewing their incendiary stew of vaudeville meets murder ballad, folk meets fairground, robot rock. Their debut album, Whistle and I’ll Come To You, My Lad (on the indefatigable Probe Plus) is out now – and it’s just about the most complete musical manifesto we’ve heard in many a summer.
Imagine Bowie meets Bauhaus, by way of the Damned and Lady Gaga and you’re getting close to their orbit. Play the whole thing and you’re way past the event horizon, sucked in, and mutated forever. ‘We’re getting terribly bored of Burlesque,’ frontman Craig Sinclair tells David Lloyd. With influences as wide and wonderful as theirs, how could we not ask them for their summer spotify playlist?
So, Lovecraft. What do you think you’re doing? Explain yourselves…
Our influences are varied across many different mediums, but musically The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, ABBA, The White Noise, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Fleetwood Mac, Sparks, Darkthrone and Faust are some of our favourites. We also steal a lot of things from films (Powell & Pressberger, Hitchcock, Fritz Lang) and old TV shows we love like Sapphire & Steel, Tales Of The Unexpected and so on. Then of course our album is named after a short story by M.R. James. We like books too. The band is under a dictatorship and a democracy in varying degrees but it all just happens, there’s no formula to it really. When we’re talking about what to do with a song we’re usually holding our instruments.
How did you all get together? Tell us a bit about your family tree
We’ve had many different wobbly line-ups over the last nine years or so but now it is finally perfect. Everyone in the band does a fantastic job and are all delightful people, I must say. Our members are made up of people from various Liverpool bands – members and ex-members alike. Some of us were once in Zombina And The Skeletones and our newest member plays in a duncecore band called Organ Freeman.
Seems to us that you’re a total immersion experience – that the music is just part of the deal: how important is the look, taste and feel of Lovecraft, if we’re to really get to know you?
Very important – it’s part Hammer Horror, part Glitter Band fever dream! We taste like a banana split dipped in blood and white chocolate and we feel like that horrible feeling when you stand on a wet bathroom floor with socks on, but with someone cupping your erogenous zones at the same time. Eroto-disappointment. I’d like us to always be in costume, always performing, never off guard. I want my pop stars to be swaggering alien creatures, not everyday folk. There are few things duller than a pop star saying ‘yes, I’m just a regular person, mate’. I don’t want you to be regular! Put your cape on and get out of my sight!
What would be in the Lovecraft manifesto?
THERE IS A POLICEMAN INSIDE ALL OUR HEADS HE MUST BE DESTROYED.
Tell us about the album – happy with it?
We’re positively thrilled with our album. All is right with it. We’ve had the opportunity to record and release something in the past, but if we’d done it earlier it wouldn’t have worked – we’re smarter now and we eat the right greens. Each song exists within its own little world. It’s dignified but it doesn’t take itself too seriously either.
Do you mingle with others in the Liverpool music scene? Or are you ploughing your own murderdelic furrow?
As mentioned earlier we have mated with several others in the area – Zombina and The Skeletones, Organ Freeman, Apple Cannon, Rhubarb, a.P.A.t.T. and even Outfit – but we don’t like to outwardly align ourselves with anything else too much. These are friends and collaborators. Our murders are all our own work!
What do you think of the city’s musical state of health right now?
I think there are some good things happening but there’s still a wealth of horrible cack being peddled which we are here to combat and remedy with our own frightening brand of prog-pop eugenics.
What’s next? Where can we see you?
We’re organising a wee small tour for the summer but we’re still reeling from the magnificent night we had playing Shepherd’s Bush Empire supporting Half Man Half Biscuit recently. We’ll be spoiled brats after that – every stage will seem too small, every dressing room understocked with virgins, honey and wine. We’ll be making demands in our own living rooms before you know it!