Huguenots release their third EP, Post-Christmas Lullaby today, and the London outift, based around the duo of Bayly Pike and Tom Fleming (both formerly of acclaimed indie outfit The King of Spain) have managed to pack a considerable amount into the three-track, 10 minute run time. Swirling post-punk, wide-angle Americana-tinged folk and sprightly indie-pop abound in these tales of everyday romance, to soothe what has been, to put it lightly, a horrendous start to the new year.
We asked multi-sintrumentalist Tom Fleming to guide us through the EP track by track:
Wings of Love
The song is about a yearning for a lost – or absent – partner, the vagaries of love and the whirlwind of emotions resulting from a sporadic and precarious relationship (‘every day I’m here shaking like a leaf…’). Fittingly in the current climate, it concerns the need for the intimacy of human contact and the psychological pain that stems from the enforced separation from a loved one. It was our producer Rowland’s idea to extend the intro to the point where the listener is taken by surprise when everything comes in (on the 11th bar!). We wanted to create a dynamic contrast between the minimal, slightly sinister sound of the verses and the big, almost euphoric choruses with layers of guitar, piano and sweeping pedal steel.
The title track of the EP tells the story of an imagined romantic encounter on Hampstead Heath and is partly inspired by the history of the nearby Spaniards Inn. This fantasy is relayed as an escape from the banal realities of the narrator’s life – the ‘post-Christmas lull’ aluded to in the title, and Brexit-induced anxiety (‘take me away from all this anguish’). Bayly’s lyrics really capture the feel of this time of year – icy walks in the local park, popping into a pub to get warm (if only!), the come-down and inertia after the festivities are over. He even manages to reference Kate Bush. For some reason it took ages to get the right take of this in the studio – we usually avoid doing too many as we tend to lose focus and energy, but this one needed time to come together.
You Struck Me Down
‘You Struck Me Down’ captures the feeling of the early, heady days of a new (or brief) relationship. Being transported back to teenage crushes, feeling invincible, and bowled over (or ‘struck down’) by love – or lust. We see it as the ‘rocker’ of the record and wanted to capture the looseness and energy of playing live – it took some convincing to prevent Rich from re-recording the guitar solo at the end as he thought he could play it better. We’re glad he didn’t though as the energy of the performance and the slight off-the-cuff-ness of it fits the song perfectly. The keyboard riff is kind of our nod to Grandaddy and Rowland added some lovely beeps and squiggles to keep it sounding nice and lo-fi.