Track by Track: Steven Adams on his new album ‘Virtue Signals’

Former Broken Family Band man Steven Adams is back with a new outfit, The French Drops, and a new album Virtue Signals – a sumptuously melodic slice of witty indie pop that barely conceals a boiling rage that simmers just beneath the surface of tracks like opening salvo ‘Bad Apples’.  We asked Steven to be our guide through LP’s nine tracks:

In the States they have ‘coastal elites’. Here I sing about ‘seaside elites’, because I think that’s funny. Coked-up bulldogs. Racists. People who say they’re patriotic, when really they’re just spoiling things. The song came together really quickly, just before we went in to record the album.

This is a breezy take on one of those sick little bedroom boys who monetize fascist propaganda. However dangerous they are, they’ll always be figures of fun.

In Mike Leigh’s film Naked, the character Johnny is talking to Brian, a security guard: “Has nobody not told you, Brian, that you’ve got this kind of gleeful preoccupation with the future? I wouldn’t even mind, but you don’t even have a fucking future. I don’t have a future. Nobody has a future. The party’s over. Take a look around you, man. It’s all breaking up.”
It’s a banger.

How do you not pull a face when you take a selfie? That’s why everyone’s gone all pouty. This was originally conceived as a long, drawn-out space rock jam. It felt appropriate to shorten it, still with Julian Cope in mind.

“I love you” is the ultimate in virtue signalling. band picI wasn’t sure where I was going with this song until David and Daniel started playing the bass and drums. Then it wrote itself.

I’ve never been more sincere about a lyric than I am about the last part of this song: “If you’re lonely you should say so, instead of lashing out, instead of poisoning the well’. Took us about a year to settle on this arrangement, and we think it’s pretty good.

I stole the title for this from a song by my friend Kenton Loewen. It’s just bass, drums, piano and singing. I think there’s a metaphor in there.

You with the flag, you look tired. This started life as a really bleak acoustic song. I tried to record it and ended up completely bummed out. Then I took it to the band and they did a fucking number on it.

This is the most straightforward lyric I’ve written for ages and it’s also an example of virtue signalling. There’s a lot of love in this song. And a guitar solo.

Virtue Signals is released through Hudson Records on 4th May.  The band head out on tour across the UK from 2nd May at the following venues:
Wed 2 May – Manchester – The Castle
Thur 3 May – Glasgow – Hug & Pint
Fr 4 May – Newcastle – Cluny 2
Sat 5 May – York – The Basement
Sun 6 May – Halifax – Grayston Unity courtyard (afternoon)
Sun 6 May – Sheffield – Shakespeares (evening)
Wed 16 May – London – Boston Music Room
Band photograph by Michael Wood
Introduction by Paul Maps

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