Announcing themselves to the world with the upbeat earworm ‘Hey, Hey Tiger!’ Liverpool quartet Seatbelts have announced details of their new single ‘A World Drained Of Wonder’ ahead of a flurry of summer shows.
The second single from their forthcoming EP ‘Songs For Vonnegut’ showcases the darker side of Madden and Murphy’s songwriting, taking a more straight up, classic ‘ballad’ rock approach. The lyrics and instrumentation – a strange hybrid of Kurt Vonnegut’s grey-sided science fiction, and something that wouldn’t look be too out of place on ‘Trouble Is A Lonesome Town’ by Lee Hazelwood – paint a varied spectral landscape.
There’s an element of doubt, vulnerability, and perhaps concern, in Madden’s voice as he sings: “Frozen fearing fortune fades, worried we made a big mistake.” Shifting from Westworld monochrome to CinemaScope in swing-time and back again, ‘A World Drained of Wonder’ plays out like a vignette of a society deprived of inspiration.
Listen to ‘A World Drained of Wonder’ – BELOW:
James found himself resonating with the phrase “The World seemed drained of wonder” when reading Patti Smith’s book ‘M-Train’. He then used the sentence as an impetus for a song. “I was also reading a chapter in Mark Fischer’s book ‘Ghosts of My Life’ about Joy Division and depression that swept the North during the 80s after Thatchers destroyed industry and communities. Fischer wrote about how Curtis and the band found themselves in a new world of empty simulations, humans as junkies hooked on every deadening high, a meat puppet of the passions. I used these harsh realities to set the backdrop and atmosphere of the song, relating it to something I was personally feeling in my life and the people around me. Empty experiences, empty desires and the redundant nature of machines doing more for us in life and what that does to human will.”
Seatbelts are the exciting new project from Hooton Tennis Club’s James Madden and Ryan Murphy. Songs are penned by James and Ryan who wrote some of Hooton Tennis Club’s finest songs (‘Jasper’, ‘P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L P.I.E.R.R.E’, and ‘Katy-Anne Bellis’) released on independent record label Heavenly Recordings. Lyrically the pair questions the deeply strange, deeply unsettling automated world we find ourselves now inhabiting with satire and humour.
Seatbelts began life in late 2017. The name was coined when the pair pondered what ‘The Beatles’ would spell out backwards over an intoxicated phone call. After a few garbled reverse attempts, a comprehensible word arrived: ‘Seatbelts’. “The connotations around seat belts fitted so well with our current technology fried brains, the sense of feeling restricted to a screen and strapped into a life that has become pretty automated. So we went with that,” says James.
The writing and recording for the project mostly take place in Abi and Ryan’s shared house, the infamous ‘Garlic Mansion’. Songs are often swapped and reworked; each songwriter trying to develop each other’s songs further. “We have 99% trust in each other. In our tastes, playing ability and overall judgement,” says Ryan. The friendship consists of armchair film criticism, favourite writers discovered and discussing books recently read. Sometimes these ramblings can influence a song i.e ‘Song For Vonnegut’ or completely distract from the task at hand.
Seatbelts Summer shows
3rd May – Getintothis presents Deep Cuts, Liverpool
05th May – Sound City, Liverpool
18th May – 81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool*
27th May – Aatma, Manchester**
28th – The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool***
*supporting Alessis Ark **Avi Buffalo ***Boy Azooga