Katy J Pearson - Sound Of The Morning (Released 8th July)

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£29.99 – Indies Limited Marbled Vinyl & Entry to the in store show

-Purple with white marbled vinyl

-‘Tip on’ sleeve

-Folded poster insert

-Download included

£24.99 – First Pressing Only Clear Vinyl Edition & Entry to the in store show

-Transparent vinyl

-‘Tip on’ sleeve

-Folded poster insert

-Download included

£12.99 – CD & Entry to the in store show

Katy J Pearson would like you to know that she is not a country singer. Sure, there was an influenceof the genre to the now-26-year-old’s celebrated debut ‘Return’-an album that saw Pearson snowballfrom Bristolian newcomer to a critically-acclaimed breakthrough star, selling out shows up and downthe UK-but there’s also much, much more to her magnetic blend of soaring, widescreen melodiesand warm, intimate storytelling than just three chords and the truth.“There was one music video [for ‘Tonight’]that I did in the beginning where I line-danced and waswearing rhinestones, and from there it just turned it into this real thing,” she laughs. “Every reviewwould be ‘country-tinged’ whereas actually, there was literally one country song on the record really.But I think that’s what’s good about the new record, that I think it’s not what people will expect fromme. When people ask me what the new album sounds like, it’s just… a bit different?!”Happy to wax lyrical about the relative merits of Townes VanZandt, Elton John and Fugazi within thesame breath, there’s always been a lot going on in Pearson’s musical palette (FYI she’d call her debutmore of a folk-rock LP, if anything).
But though the critics might have skewed the specifics of ‘Return’-released via Heavenly Records in November 2020-the acclaim for the album still came pouring in.Having had a previous taste of the industry via a major label project that quickly turned sour, thedifference this time around was tangible: praised for “the arresting quality of [her] Kate Bush-meets-Dolly Parton vocal delivery” by The Times, labelled as “finding humanity in every moment” by DIY andwith lead single ‘Take Back The Radio’ described as “a whoop of pure joy” in the Guardian, amidst thebleak toll oflockdown, something about this curiously optimistic album began to really resonate.“It was terrifying getting to the point of releasing a debut after making music for eight years, likewoah!” she says with an exaggerated grimace (random noises and excitable gestures are par-for-the-course in a Pearson anecdote). “But weirdly it feels like it couldn’t have come out at any other time. Itfelt like everything people were saying to me [during lockdown] was everything that I’d been feelingwhen I wrote that album; it was a very personal album for me, and it was released at a time when a lotof people were in their house, feeling isolated. It was the antidote to a lot of peoples’ lives.”It feels fitting then that, having provided an aural balm at just the right moment with her first album, itsfollow-up should reflect a world brimming with curiosity, back in action and wanting to expand itshorizons.
If Pearson’s extracurricular activities in recent months have shown that she can dip a toe into a multitude of genres-providing guest vocals on Orlando Weeks’ recent album ‘Hop Up’; poppingup with Yard Act for a collaboration at End of the Road festival; singing on trad-folk collective Broadside Hacks’ 2021 project ‘Songs Without Authors’- then forthcoming second album ‘Sound ofthe Morning’ takes that spirit and runs with it. It’s still Katy J Pearson (read: effortlessly charming, fullof heart and helmed by that inimitable vocal), but it’s Katy J Pearson pushing herself musically andlyrically into new waters.Written and recorded in late 2021 after a self-prescribed period of down time spent walking, going ondaily cold water swims and “just chillaxing massively”, even the credits on ‘Sound of the Morning’profess a new thirst for experimentation from the singer. Joining ‘Return’ producer Ali Chant on desk duties this time was Speedy Wunderground head honcho Dan Carey, who worked with Pearson on some of the album’s grittier tracks. “Dan got a completely different structural, songwriting style out ofme which is what I wanted: something a bit more confident and in your face,” she nods. “He could see that there was a part of me that wanted to branch out, I just didn’t know where and how far to push it,but it was exactly the kind of progression I was looking for.”The slithering bass riff that underpins ‘Alligator’, offsetting its cathartic chorus is a case in point. “I wasin such a bad mood that day because I’d had this huge E.ON bill to pay which was £500. I was on the phone to my dad, like, ‘Dad! I’ve fuckedit!’” she recalls. “I walked into the studio and just burst intotears, and Dan was like, ‘Let’s just write a song’. We started writing this really jangly thing and that became the start of ‘Alligator’.”Perhaps the biggest surprise, meanwhile, comes in the tense, Carey-produced ‘Confession’. Writtenafter a conversation with her mum sparked by the #MeToo movement, it’s an anxious rattle of a songthat’s both abstract and painfully timeless.
Yes, in this specific instance, “it was a very long time agowhenit happened”, but as the song’s repetition seems to suggest, it was happening then, and it’shappening now and it will probably keep on happening.“When I listen to that song, it’s abstract but it feels very personal and strong to me and hopefully to thewomen around me. I think that song has so much anxiety and tension in it because every day, womenare faced with triggering aspects of things that have happened to us-especially in music, I’ll be goingto a gig and there’ll be some fucking creep there,” she explains. “It’s completely universal for so manyof us, and I’m glad I’ve got a song that represents that because, as I’m getting older as a person andas a woman, I want to sing about this because I’m fucking angry. It’s nice to have an angry and anunnerving song on my album.”That Pearson decides to follow such a dark sonic moment with the sparse, traditional folk lilt of ‘TheHour’ (penned in its stripped back form, she chuckles, because the acrylic nails she was wearing atthe time didn’t allowfor anything more complex) is typical of ‘Sound of the Morning’. It’s an albumthat’s as comfortable revelling in the more laid-back, Real Estate-esque melodies of lead single ‘Talk Over Town’-a track that attempts to make sense of her recent experiences, of “being Katy from Gloucester, but then being Katy J Pearson who’s this buzzy new artist”-as it is basking in theAmerican indie pop of ‘Float’, penned with longtime pal Ollie Wilde of Pet Shimmers, or experimenting with the buoyant brass of ‘Howl’, in which Orlando repays the favour with a vocal guest spot. Even the fact that Pearson has allowed herself to embrace these other voices and viewpoints makes for notable personal progress. “On my first record I was so against collaborating because I’ve been undermined so much as a female artist in the past, writing-wise. So being in a situation where I’m working with my friends who are also super talented musicians is such a different way of doing things.” she says.
It all makes for a record that’s increasingly unafraid to explore life’s darker parts, but that does so withan openness that’s full of light. As an artist who professes to “always strive for the bittersweetness ofthings”, ‘Sound of the Morning’ does just that, taking the listener’s hand and guiding them through thegood and the bad, like the musical equivalent of an arm around the shoulder. “I want people to feelthings with my music, but I don’t want to cause my listener too much trauma,” she notes with a cheekyglint. “Counselling is expensive, so you’ve got to pick your battles…”The record ends with a cover of ‘Willow’s Song’ by Paul Giovanni, taken from the 1973 soundtrack ofThe Wicker Man. Reinterpreted with a krautrock inflection, it might not have been from her pen but it’sa strangely appropriate way to summarise Katy J Pearson’s appeal: someone who takes classic,timeless ideas and spins them into new forms. It also leaves the door tantalisingly open for what’s tocome-as she says herself, “I think it’s really nice to finish the album on something that isn’t mine butis still this ending moment-it’s like it’s saying, ‘What is she going to do next?’”

TRACKLISTING:

 

Trk. # Track Name Time
1 Sound Of The Morning 00:03:19
2 Talk Over Town 00:05:52
3 Riverbed 00:04:10
4 Howl 00:03:49
5 Confession 00:03:20
6 The Hour 00:03:03
7 Float 00:03:38
8 Alligator 00:02:54
9 Game Of Cards 00:03:35
10 Storm To Pass 00:03:44
11 Willow’s Song 00:04:33

 

 

Additional information

Format

First Pressing Only Clear Vinyl Edition, Indies Limited Marbled Vinyl, x1 CD