Back in those rosy, optimism filled-days of ’08 you may recall a fresh new sound in Liverpool, endearingly christened ‘Boss-pop’ by sections of the local media; ushered in by Elle S’appelle, Go Faster, and Hot Club de Paris, it looked a scene which had legs. It did. A bit.
Elle S’appelle and Go Faster eventually collapsed under the weight of their own expectation (leaving Hot Club to fight the good fight). Out of the ashes: Yes Lord Sugar; Made up of Lucy (from E S’appelle), Ian, Rich and James (all Go Faster), the band are a couple of years more savvy, a couple of years less eager to please.
Rich explains: “I think in the past, especially from a Go Faster point of view, there’s a feeling we were just trying too hard.” A few knowing looks are shared around the practice room (situated in Crash Studios).
Ian elaborates: “We pushed too hard before, we were under too much pressure…mostly from ourselves”, he admits. “This time…” says Rich, like he means it, “we’re just writing for the sake of producing good pop songs.”
And that they are, pretty much hitting their marks from the word go; the two mastered tracks up on Facebook– Wasted Minds and That Look in His Eyes – sound extremely timely, all retro synths and crystal clear vocals. At their centres though, lie age-old pop sensibilities, immediately catchy and sing-along, with just the right amount of depth.
Particularly on That Look in His Eyes which, for the uninitiated sounds like a beautiful, tragic tale of unrequited love. Turns out it’s actually about Nick Clegg and the pained expression that can only come with selling your soul to the Tories for the position of lap-dog and human shield.
We wonder how this newly-formed band goes about the writing process, and how those two gems in the rough have been crafted into something capable of carving a rich niche in the shifting terrain of the Liverpool music scene.
“One person wrote all of the songs in Elle S’appelle, it was a bit…things are just more organic with us, we all have a voice and a say in the songs” explains Lucy, pleased with the extra room to create that the new band affords her.
A big clue to their ability to rattle off a couple of winners in record-breaking time lies in the fact they’ve all known each other for years: Ian and James in bands together going back as long as they care to remember, while Lucy and Rich met in temp jobs, where they “stuck out like a sore thumb…we were given the nickname ‘emo brother and sister’”, says Rich, immediately wondering out-loud whether he should have reminded everyone of this moniker. The answer to this poser comes quick, delivered deftly by James, chiming in that these days, “it’s more like ‘emo Mum and Dad’”.
Thus perfectly illustrating that here is a band at great ease with themselves and each other, and it shines through in the songs, which combine that special new-band freshness with a seasoned tightness and sheen – a pretty unique quality – one that is unquestionably working for Yes Lord Sugar.
Pic: Laura Robertson