British synth-based dance-pop electro duo Spray present their new album ‘Ambiguous Poems About Death’, released via Manchester’s Analogue Trash label on November 26, having previewed three tracks from this clever and catchy 12-track collection – ‘Hammered In An Airport’, ‘Félicette (Space Cat)’and ‘Blurred In The Background’.
Spray is music-addict siblings Jenny McLaren (vocals, guitars) and Ricardo Autobahn (synths), who have managed to build an enviable following of devotees to Spray’s brand of danceable and subversive indie disco pop since their 2002 debut ‘Living In Neon’ LP. They are also responsible for a smash cover of Lisa Lougheed’s ‘Run With Us’ (also ‘The Raccoons’ theme song). Their unique brand of oblique synth-pop is catchy as hell, both lyrically and musically, bringing them mainstream pop success in an alternate universe.
Spray’s musical DNA traces back to 90s band The Cuban Boys, who recorded one of the best Peel Sessions ever and went head-to-head with Sir Cliff Richard in a Christmas Chart Battle. Their hit single ‘Cognoscenti Vs Intelligentsia’ (a.k.a. The Hamster Dance Song) sold a million copies, reached number 4 in the UK single charts, landed them on Top of the Pops and, in the words of John Peel, was “the most requested song I’ve had since God Save The Queen”. They topped the John Peel Festive 50 Charts twice.
Spray was the secret weapon behind the UK’s 2006 Eurovision hit ‘Teenage Life’, written and produced with Daz Sampson, with their treated vocals used on the track. Ricardo Autobahn and Sampson’s dance version of ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ (as Rikki and Daz) with the legendary Glen Campbell went Top-10. More recently Spray recorded music with anarchic BBC star Hacker T. Dog and Ricardo also plays keyboards with Welsh punk pop icons Helen Love.
Spray’s new long-player is their second release with Analogue Trash, following 2019’s ‘Failure Is Inevitable’. Jenny and Ricardo have used the intervening time wisely; writing, terrorising social media, working with puppets, and a number of live shows, including August’s first post lockdown live affair in Liverpool.
“In early 2020, we bought a Behringer TD-3, one of the company’s excellent Roland TB-303 knockoffs. We had an idea of putting out a quick acid house-style album in the summer, something short, spiky and electropunk. This did not come to fruition as, like many, Spray found themselves locked down in separate locations, in their case on either side of Lancashire,” says Ricardo Autobahn.
“This album evolved into something a lot more elaborate as the pandemic went on. We tried not to write songs *about* the global situation because we figured everybody would be doing that, but the outside world couldn’t help seeping in.”
Undeterred by distance, recording and production duties were split between Spray Studio 1 (decaying, seen better days) and Spray Studio 2 (shiny, newly refurbished, sweet smelling) and the album took shape with the TD-3 employed in all the songs, somewhere.
Packed full of acerbic wit with tongue firmly in cheek when needed for maximum effect, ‘Ambiguous Poems About Death’ will delight fans new and old from the first listen. The long-player will be released on November 26 digitally and on CD, the latter format featuring separate blue cover artwork). It can be ordered, everywhere online including Bandcamp, at http://snd.click/poems.
Composed, performed and produced by Spray
Performed by Jenny McLaren and Ricardo Autobahn
Music engineered at Spray Studio 1 (Lancashire)
Vocals engineered at Spray Studio 2 (Liverpool)
Additional vocals by Terri McDonald and Phil Fletcher
Mixed by Morgan Lorentz
Published by Copyright Control/23rd Precinct Music Ltd