A song of enigma, defiant grace and those once buckled who dug deep to be brave, Michael Head and The Red Elastic Band release the sweeping, serotonin rush of Broken Beauty, the second single from their breath-taking second album, Dear Scott. Produced by Bill Ryder-Jones, the song’s sense of yearning, for repair and rebirth, suffused in a glinting, brass-and-strings sense of nothing-to-lose optimism, makes for woozy, butterfly-in-stomach listening.
Closing in on the exact, forty-year anniversary of the release of his first single as the singing songwriter behind The Pale Fountains, Head’s second album with his energised band of brothers is already being talked about as his masterpiece. Imbued with a sense of ‘what will be will be’ contentment as the years stack up, the talismanic songwriter speaks across generations through his classic albums as leader of both Shack and The Strands. Lately he has found streams of goodwill, collaboration and self-belief flow gently to become a river of revival.
Broken Beauty follows the riffy, jangle and squall anthem of Kismet, Dear Scott’s first single and opening track, which emerged in February and offered the first sign of new music from Head in five years. Coming round to a growing sense of permanence, the four members of The Red Elastic Band have offered Head creative and personal sanctuary, pushing writing and recording sessions along together as a tighter-than-ever, cohesive unit.
In the case of Broken Beauty, Head welcomes another creative voice to the fold in Alice Head, his daughter. Having spent an artistic lifetime working largely alone out of preference, the 2022 version of Michael Head is more absorbent of new, external ideas than ever, whether from literature, film or his nearest and dearest.
On collaborating with someone so close, Head says: “One evening Alice said: “I have an idea for a song” and asked if we could work on it together. When she told me the title and the story I loved it straight away. The way she told it was so inspiring. So, we put it together that night and, on the way out she shouted “I’m thinkin’ big chorus and a trumpet solo!”. I think we nailed it. It’s all there.”
Watch the video for 'Broken Beauty' - BELOW:
Dear Scott, released on Fri 3 June 2022 with Modern Sky UK, combines the talents and passions of many of Merseyside’s finest musicians, offering 12-tracks blessed by Head’s returned vigour as well as Ryder-Jones’ artistry at the mixing desk.
Head also looks ahead to his first, full UK Tour since hitching his cart to The Red Elastic Band train in 2012. The run of eight dates culminates in two, huge theatre shows at Liverpool’s Eventim Olympia on Fri 10 June 2022 and the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London on Sat 11 June 2022. The full run of 2022 UK Tour dates are confirmed as follows:
Wed 1 June – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
Thu 2 June – Newcastle, The Cluny
Fri 3 June – Glasgow, St Luke's
Sat 4 June – Manchester, Gorilla
Wed 8 June – Bristol, Thekla
Thu 9 June – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
Fri 10 June – Liverpool, Eventim Olympia
Sat 11 June – London, o2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Remaining tickets for all shows can be found via ticket links available at www.michaelheadofficial.com
Dear Scott refers to novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose debt-ridden, down-and-out years captured the imagination of Head, specifically a postcard Fitzgerald addressed to himself upon checking in at Hollywood’s infamous Golden Age retreat, The Garden Of Allah Hotel. Head explains: “A decade after being the king of the jazz age, Fitzgerald arrived unfashionable and sober, ready to conquer Hollywood. His agent with a sense of humour booked him into The Garden Of Allah, where writers, movie stars and even Stravinsky sometimes lived. He famously picked up a postcard on checking in and addressed it to himself.”
The postcard read: Dear Scott, How are you? Have been meaning to come and see you. I have living at the Garden Of Allah. Yours Scott Fitzgerald
Released in June 1982, The Pale Fountains’ Something On My Mind was the first music commercially released by Head, out at that time via the boutique Belgian label, part-founded by Ian Curtis’ lover, Annik Honoré, Les Disques du Crépuscule. The intervening, glorious and chaotic four decades have included the story of Shack and the near-misses of their cherished albums, including the missing-tapes-caper of Waterpistol and the Britpop-clashing HMS Fable. Through it all, Head has been held up by critics and songwriting peers as one of the best and most influential of his and their lifetimes.
The Red Elastic Band is made up of Phil Murphy on drums, Tom Powell on bass, Danny Murphy on guitars and Nathaniel Cummings on guitars and backing vocals, the musicians taking on the world in 2022 alongside Head. The band have released only one other album with Head to date, the acclaimed 2017 long-player, Adios Señor Pussycat.