Daphne Guinness will release her new album Daphne & The Golden Chord on April 20th, 2018 through Agent Anonyme/Absolute. Following Daphne’s critically applauded debut album, Optimist In Black, Tony Visconti is once again in the producer’s seat.
Daphne & The Golden Chord is a consistently unflinching and personal album. “I can’t sing a single word I don’t believe in. It’s the closest thing I can get to a memoir without making people I know very cross indeed. It’s all there: love, hate and nervous breakdowns.” The tongue-in-cheek psychedelia of ‘Deja Vu Guru’ mocks bogus spirituality, whilst ‘Captain Catastrophe’ (Daphne’s own childhood nickname) tracks the take down of charlatans & preconceived ideas to wah-wah guitar, backwards tape sounds and Tony Visconti’s inimitable string arrangements. ‘It’s Alright’ (which Daphne calls a ‘one take wonder’) provides one of the album’s most emotionally unguarded moments (a nod towards Johnny Thunders), and ‘But I’m Not’ finds a vindicated Daphne alternately rhyming lyrics in French & English above a Phil Spector Girl Group beat.
When Daphne – muse to Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow – launched her musical career back in 2016, a few finely shaped eyebrows were raised. Optimist In Black, her debut album proved, in no uncertain terms that Guinness is no musical dilettante. She has always been deeply involved with music, studying and listening to classical composers while developing an asymmetric teenage passion for The Doors, The Kinks, the Beatles and Marc Bolan. After a peripatetic childhood spent between London, Paris, Ireland and a crumbling monastery in Cadaqués, Spain (where neighbour Salvador Dali was a regular visitor), she was all set to study at Guildhall with a view to becoming an opera singer, before life took a strange twist, aged 19, towards marriage and children.
After the suicides of both Blow & McQueen, followed by the loss of Daphne’s brother Jasper to cancer, Guinness reassessed everything. Hiding herself away in a studio in Ireland, she wrote and recorded songs to cope with her grief. David Bowie was so impressed with her music that he recommended her to his long-time producer Tony Visconti and another chapter of her life began. The product was Optimist In Black, drawing praise from Q Magazine (“Firmly rooted in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, its main modes orchestral glam and bejewelled psych” ****), The Times (“Has charm, humour and a certain florid, romantic quality”) and Noisey (“Drama-pop with a gothic tinge”). Tony Visconti produced ‘Optimist’ concurrently with Bowie’s final album ‘Blackstar’, with David often dropping in on Daphne’s recording sessions to offer encouragement.
Daphne & The Golden Chord began when Malcolm Doherty, Daphne’s musical co-conspirator, helped her put a band together to play live shows for her first album. With the new band in place Daphne found herself moving in a more guitar based ‘Glam rock’ direction.
The band features Doherty (Rumer, GoKart Mozart) on guitars, percussion and BV’s: Terry Miles on keyboards (who also plays with indie recluse Lawrence in Go-Kart Mozart); former Thin Lizzy bassist Gary Liedeman; Punk guitar hero James Stevenson (who played in Chelsea, Generation X and the Cult) and the young Italian drummer Alex Marchisone. In the studio Daphne encouraged Tony Visconti to bring in everything from timpani (enthusiastically handled by Graham Coxon’s drummer Stephen Gilchrist) to sitars and saxophones, with Roxy Music’s Andy Mackay contributing his signature sound.
At Daphne’s suggestion, Daphne & The Golden Chord was recorded almost entirely live to analogue tape in a 3 week session at British Grove Studios, using a vintage EMI console – the same model used on Abbey Road, Dark Side Of The Moon and Band On The Run.
Daphne & The Golden Chord takes Guinness off on her next adventure. The music derives from Daphne’s classical training, the band’s punk rock immediacy and Tony Visconti’s production and arranging genius, all tied together by a shared love of 70s Glam and Daphne’s gliding, sonorous voice, reminiscent of an English Grace Slick. The result is the most colourful, vibrant album you will hear this year.
There will be a London album launch/happening in Spring 2018. Details to be announced soon.