Win copies of Phil Thornalley’s new album – Music News

Phil Thornalley is set to drop an incredible new album “Now That I Have Your Attention” on September 2 via Lojinx.

A quick scan of the many records Phil Thornalley has worked on, and you’ll quickly spot some of the biggest names in popular music, including Bryan Adams, Thompson Twins, The Cure, Psychedelic Furs, XTC, Duran Duran, and even Paul McCartney. Phil co-wrote and produced Natalie Imbruglia’s 1997 worldwide hit “Torn” and has penned hits with Pixie Lott (“Mama Do”) and BBMak (“Back Here”). Sort of rock ‘n’ roll Zelig, his name is probably on countless records in your collection, though you probably didn’t even know it was him. That bassline on “Love Cats” by The Cure? It’s Phil. The haunting, ethereal production of Prefab Sprout’s “When Love Breaks Down”? It’s Phil too.

Now, on his latest offering, Now That I Have Your Attention, Phil Thornalley steps out of The Swamp (his North London studio) to unveil 11 catchy, never-before-seen original songs (plus three bonus tracks on the CD!) that find him exploring production styles pioneered by Electric Light Orchestra boffin Brummie, Jeff Lynne.

Thornalley celebrates the beautiful musicality and sheer joy of Lynne’s widescreen symphonic string sections, the unabashed brutality of her direct rhythm tracks, and plenty of multi-tracked, stacked harmony voices. On tracks like “Stand By Love” and “High On Your Supply,” Thornalley does more than wink at Lynne’s carefully layered sonic array, from multiple acoustic guitars to very specific electric guitar lines.

The first taste of it came in the form of “Fast Car”.

Obviously, that’s a sound Thornalley can’t get out of his head. “Maybe we should have called it the Traveling Phil-burys,” jokes Thornalley, “but I enjoyed the early ELO records, and the way they married a crummy rhythm combo with the grandeur of A full orchestra – it was over the top but contagiously musical, creating a base of ‘controlled’ oxymoron rock and roll drums and super simple bass guitar.

Why, you might be wondering, would a lauded, Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer (and the focus of a recent in-depth career retrospective in American trade magazine, Tape Op) decide to record a album with both feet planted at random in the squelch of the seventies sounds of ELO and glam rock?

Because it’s funny. “When I listen to pop radio these days,” says Phil Thornalley, “nobody seems to be having fun. In my teens, all the other records you heard were ridiculous. I think that sense of fun is missing. to the often turgid and mournful soul singers of today who complain of their millionaire boredom.

It should be noted that this is a true solo album, and although Thornalley had vital assistance from Jimmy Hogarth (on “Hell Bent On Compromise” and “High On Your Supply”), the arrangements of Sally Herbert’s strings, Thornalley was solely responsible for the lion’s share of what he calls the “scratching, banging, pinching, squashing, banging and twittering” on the record, writing all the songs, producing and engineering it all.

“I was endowed with a certain talent for the rudimentary playing of pop instruments such as bass, drums, guitar and piano. I understand musical arrangements by making records for other people over the decades, so I can hear what I want and strive to achieve it. I even tried cello and Dylan-style harmonica on “High On Your Supply.” And while I like to think I have an ear for a rough string arrangement, I gladly passed on my ideas to Sally, who plays viola. and violin, and Ian Burdge who plays cello. Sal tweaks the score, adds slurs and unexpected effects, and then they record it in their home studio.

Thornalley played a piano bar “tack” over a doubled string quartet, arranged by Herbert, and nothing else to achieve a McCartney-esque melancholy on what is arguably the most poignant song on the album, “ Bluer Than A Bluebird” on which a simple lyric wallows in the sadness of a misguided, one-sided love story. “The strings,” laughs Thornalley, “especially the cellos, really rack up the agony.”

The more delicate flowers among you might be surprised by the overt drug analogies in songs like “Heaven In A Hash Pipe” and “High On Your Supply,” but again, Thornalley says it’s all good, ironic. fun.

“The real message of ‘Heaven…’ is that I don’t think you’ll find true happiness by losing your mind,” says Thornalley, “while ‘High On Your Supply’ is about love addiction. “

Thornalley considers the glam rock shuffle of “Solid Gold Sunshine,” with its subtle blend of ’70s groove and teenage feel-good melody, to be something of an exception on the album.

“I tried to marry some elements from my old record collection,” says Thornalley. “The big baton-shaped Moog synthesizer of Wings’ ‘Jet’, or the fuzzbox slide guitar frenzy of Joe Walsh. There’s a certain type of guitar riff that was ubiquitous in 70s pop, but is now relatively unknown, but somehow fits my album. As the galloping rock of “One Night In America” ​​conjures up thoughts of Neil Diamond singing “Xanadu.”

As a gifted, chart-topping producer in his own right, Thornalley draws on decades of experience in the pop trenches, slathering sonic textures like paint on a sonic canvas.

“I especially like finding different rooms in my house to record in,” says Thornalley. “I rarely use reverb, but I like to place a microphone at the end of a hallway to find the right tonal perspective for drums or especially background vocals. I love the natural call-and-response feel on a chorus, and the natural colors available in my studio—just pointing the mic at the ceiling, not the singer—can create unique, blended pockets of tones. I was trained in the studio by the man with the golden ears, Mickie Most, an ultra-pop producer with a telepathic sense of what the record-buying public wanted, and always with an ear for the melodic, funky or simply eye-catching.

Phil Thornalley deserves your attention.

We have THREE COPIES on CD to give away!

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About Elizabeth J. Swartz

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