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Their second album’s here after seven long years so what have Hal been up to? Getting lost, riding the studio “merry-go-round” and using the sea as a chat-up line.
Craig Fitzpatrick, 14 Jun 2012
They had plenty of opportunities to do so in the studio. The process was more DIY this time out. They recorded in Stephen’s place without major label interference. The heady 2003 days of the label bidding war are long gone.
“We were lucky then,” says O’Brien. “We got in before the big bang. The last record was made for a hundred grand, we made this one for a little less!”
“We were the only ones doing it which was kinda nice,” says Allen. “With the last one, you’d have the record company coming in halfway through to see how it’s going and it was a nerve-wracking thing. Having a studio/den helped as well.”
“Well that made it take even longer!” Stephen exclaims. “You don’t know when to get off the merry-go-round. You can be spinning on it for another year before you realise you better get off. It all depends on the amount of cigarette breaks you have.”
A mountain of empty 20 packs later, and we have the layered, string-drenched The Time, The Hour. All the better for their perfectionist persuasion, it neatly updates their original blueprint. They confess to a Bee Gees influence on the glorious ‘Why Do You Come Here’, make eyes at contemporary artists like Grizzly Bear and yet still clearly have their Neil Young and Beach Boys records.
Born and reared by Dublin’s southern coast, they admit that seaside living is a big influence, even if the weather ain’t California. In their seduction techniques as much as music.
“On the topic of the inspiring things about the sea…” David tentatively proffers. “You’re going to laugh at this! I was seeing a girl, she was living in Brighton. I remember being on the telephone to her and I got her to go down to the sea as well, hundreds of miles away, and said, ‘I’m going to slap the sea and it’s going to ripple out to you, because we’re connected.’” Stephen sighs, “Aw, romantic!” sarcastically as Allen powers on valiantly. “Well, it was about connection and the sea connects the whole world!”