Mick had to go to the Lake District over the weekend forcing us to take a three day break which I frankly welcomed, expecting to finish the remaining outstanding lyric and possibly even play golf. I managed the latter.
So we’re back to balancing the vocals on the remaining 5 tracks – 6 were done on Friday and Rod The Mod (provisionally entitled Writers Retreat! (that would be my first exclamation mark in 27 years should it make it)) must wait until I’ve sung it.
The Rod the Mod lyric has caused my more grief than any I can remember since Baby (which was completely rewritten, melody and words), or maybe Another Lover (written and sung during final mixing in 1996). If it wasn’t such a good fit, sound wise, for this record, I’d tell it to go to hell and we’d have an 11 song album… But I don’t expect to make another record like this one again, so I trudge on. The other really annoying thing is that there is, in my work, no correlation between ease of composition and end result. Note the two songs mentioned, both amongst my best, I’d argue – both hell to finish…
Back to the 11 I don’t hate –
The Flipside is quite simple, Mick rides the vocal, Joan has a natural level for her harmony and that’s done except for fine tuning.
Mick fine tuned Broken Record, riding the vocal and the pedal steel. He has worries that the drums are missing something to drive the song along, but I like them. They sound very Nashville 1967 (in my mind anyway) also somewhat Fleetwood Mac 1980.
Oh Genevieve is complicated. The intro and breakdown are like little songs unto themselves so we have to spend a while balancing them – brass vs strings vs accordion vs glockenspiel vs pedal steel (subtle). Once done the body of the song is relatively simple. The backing vocals are dry in the verses and wet in the chorus. Next –
Inverse Midas Touch – the jive talking seems fine but it needs to be positioned somewhere in space. Should we be in the studio? Or on the street, or the bus? We go for the bus – Mick adds some ambient noise (talking, children playing, shouting and a ticket inspector we have to edit out) we then treat both the ambient noise and the talking so that they sound like one thing (slight degradation of signal). The drums for the introduction need to sound smaller, so we mute the room sound until the song proper starts.The rest of the song is fairly self explanatory – Matt’s guitar is sounding a bit too nice so we back off an EQ Mick has added, slightly and we finally add the me doing Mick doing Tina backing vocals and they do sound quite silly, but work nicely. Onwards –
Man Overboard – Mick has a nice balance between the accordion and the violin which I honestly wasn’t sure if we were going to get, so that’s a good. My vocal is simple enough, but there is one bass drum which isn’t working with the vocal and I suggest we move it. It turns out that it’s actually my singing which is so laid back that it is making the slightly rushed section of the track sound really rushed… so we move two words back (earlier) and it sounds fine. Balancing the harmony vocals is not simple, as the ones in the verse have s different function to those in the choruses, but it’s just time consuming… we get it done and then balance the three main guitars – Matt and Mark need to be playing off my part, so I need to be slightly to the fore, for the most part, for them to make sense, musically. Once that is balanced the song is sounding about right. The solo section will take a while but not tonight.
Note – all day, as Mick’s family are still up North so, I’ve been using his kitchen as songwriting room, his guitar helps but I’m not getting it done. I don’t seem able to commit to one plan. No luck at dinner either, despite nice Chilean Cabernet. (Note, as I write, the morning after, I may be getting somewhere – notes taken on the bus seem encouraging.)