Sunday, 25 October 2009

Lucas Renney's 'Strange Glory' album 9/10 NME

it's not often the nme give 9/10 for album reviews, nor is it very frequent for that album to have been produced by ME!!!!!!!! in fact quite a rarity.
the album in question is by Lucas Renney, a quite brilliant songwriter from the North East of England, and said album is now available here through Brille Records, a label run by former XL Records man leo silverman.

i initially heard lucas's songs in a very raw form and knew immediately what kind of setting i would like to put these songs. I called paul and mckenzie from Midlake, the best bass and drum team since sly and robbie, and then spoke to the arranger fiona brice who i have known a long time and think is a superb arranger, as well as being a brilliant violinist, and set to work, choosing the 15 or so songs we would work on. Over the next month or so, Fiona got to work on the arrangements, Paul and Mckenzie flew over from Texas and then we all went into rehearsals in London, and a week later all met up at Bryn Derwen in North Wales, home of my favourite studio.
It was a wonderful time, most mornings we'd start with a walk with the dogs along the quarry up to the waterfalls, back for some hearty breakfast and then setting to work around 11am. Paul and Mckenzie are such a wonderful pair to work with, as they really helped with feel and tempo, and they both really care about the work they do. Of course, running Bella Union, i should know how superb they are as musicians but seriously till you see people in the studio, you dont really know. Lucas found the experience to be quite inspiring i felt, as he had only really ever heard these songs in his bedroom on an acoustic guitar, apart from the odd song that was left over from his old band Golden Virgins. The engineer, the unique and quite brilliant Dave Wrench, someone i have now worked with on about 5 albums, was also a tremendous help throughout with his own musicality, and i think between all of us, we created a beautiful moving album. The final icings on the cakes were the backing vocals from Stephanie which added that fairy dust to the whole thing. i was also lucky enough to be able to work on the final stages of the album at my friend Bill's house, and we had some additional cameos like that one from sarah jory on pedal steel. Lucas is a lovely feller, who cares deeply about the songs he writes and his lyrics are dark and brooding, songs of loss and longing, yet there is a romance about his writing that draws you in, as poetry does. Lucas is one of only a few english songwriters whose lyrics could be published as poetry, and i urge you all to take a listen before you decide to buy...there are some songs on lastfm from the album...probably the one i enjoyed working on the most was These Same Stars, as i ended up completely reworking it while mixing as it wasnt working at all. Now i think it's one of the best tracks on the album...

you can hear at


  1. Congrats Simon! Sounds very good.
    I think Fiona Brice brought a very creative special touch to the songs. Paul and McKenzie had obviously their role on the song too but its importance is something you can feel better then me for you have been with them in the studio.
    I don't know wich one i prefer, if The Same Stars or Oh, My Pretty One.

    Have a nice week!

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