Whelanslive in association with MCD & Communion Records proudly present
VIRTUAL TOUR & EP RELEASE
Streaming live online on Tue 20th October at instagram.com/whelanslive
Chartreuse are pleased to share a hazily beautiful video for Keep Checking Up On Me, the centre-point and title track of their new EP, out now via Communion Records. The video was directed by Joe Connor (Biffy Clyro, The Rolling Stones, Coldplay).
The EP follows a couple of introductions to it in the form of the hymnal ‘‘Tall Grass’ and the powerful melody-rich slowburn of ‘Enemy’s Belly’. It’s the sort of music you don’t hear much anymore, and it’s all the better for it.
Says the band of the visuals – “The video for ‘Keep Checking Up On Me’ is the final video of three collaborations with director Joe Connor, and was shot in a beautiful Georgian church called St Pauls in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. We have had to be incredibly creative across the three videos with the pandemic restrictions and social distancing issues, which has meant having no crew or outside help and often having make things work on the day
“For ‘Keep Checking Up On Me’ we borrowed all the lamps from our family homes and packed them along with our instruments into our cars and drove them to St Paul’s Church. The cinematic haze in the video was created by burning Incense we picked up locally, as we couldn’t have any smoke machines on the shoot. It just goes to show what you can achieve with very little resources.”
For a band who come alight on stage, but with shows still tricky to play, the band have found a new way to hit the road, undertaking a tour of UK & European venues, by taking over their Instagram accounts to provide a glimpse of what to expect when all this lifts and parity is restored. The tour kicks off in Glasgow on 15th October, before taking in Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Dublin, Berlin and Paris, finishing up in Amsterdam on 23rd October. Full date and details below.
Named after a colour that supposedly cannot be seen when printed (but also a French liqueur discovered by monks some 900 years ago and rogue marketed by its makers as ‘the elixir of long life’), the four multi-instrumentalists that form Chartreuse find inspiration in the assorted works of Hans Zimmer and by long drives out of the city, daydreaming of future lazy studio sessions in the South of France. They all agree on assorted songs and records by Radiohead, Bon Iver, Ben Howard and Sharon Van Etten, and agree to disagree on many others.
Hailing from the Black Country, Chartreuse create richly textured, loose-limbed, soul music. It oozes warmth, intimacy and melancholy. It’s a sound that roughly orbits that languid, we’re-in-no-rush insouciance of Lambchop, the shivering grandeur of Nick Cave, and occasionally the chest thumping, life-affirming unity of The National. There’s something of the lounge-y, devil-may-care attitude of King Krule here too. In truth, it sounds unlike any of them, an unexpectedly furtive marrying of studious folk, soul, jazz, and RnB in its truest sense by a young band making their deliciously beguiling first steps.
Loosely fronted by the alternate vocals of Michael Wagstaff and Harriet Wilson, these are thoughts, feelings and curiosities initially scrawled out on paper scraps, and songs that act as their writers’ own personal therapy. Conceived and sculpted in their rehearsal cabin, less in homage to Justin Vernon than the only quiet room they could realistically find, it’s offered them a private space to seclude themselves away and pore over every detail of their recorded sound. And you can hear it.
That Chartreuse have taken their time to deliver a follow up to the debut EP should come as no surprise. What’s the rush? Having started and finished their second EP just as the world ground to a halt back in March, Chartreuse spent those solitary weeks away from each other sending track stems back and forth primarily of flourishing instrumental sounds. Building the songs blind, but somehow second guessing each other to within similar ballparks, the band created a mixtape, of sorts, splicing these bits and pieces together to make an interesting whole. A documentation of a band’s creation during lockdown, they uploaded it online and left it to ruminate. Just for fun.
As the guidelines on lockdown slowly began to lift, and a cautious, collective rubbing of eyes ensued, the second Chartreuse EP is readied. It’s called Keep Checking Up On Me and it’s a fascinating, assured next step. The opening moments of Tall Grass, that fronts the new recordings, are hushed and tempered. Shut up and listen. Don’t forget to breathe. It steadies itself in the same gear throughout, Michael’s vocal almost spoken-word in self-reflection. There’s something of the Chemikal Underground about it; intimate snapshots given space to breathe and room to manoeuvre.
The EP was produced partly by Michael himself (Tall Grass and Hope That You’re Not Holy) and partly with Luke Smith at his studio in Tottenham. These five new songs feel immediately at ease with each other and their shared sense of out-of-stepness. A subtle grandiosity with character, that speaks of introspection and self-preservation. Considered music from the soul, heading straight to your heart.
Virtual Tour October 2020
15th – Glasgow, UK King Tuts
16th – Manchester, UK Band On The Wall
17th – Leeds, UK Wardrobe
18th – Newcastle, UK Bobik’s
20th – Dublin, IE Whelan’s
21st – Berlin, DE Lido
22nd – Paris, FR La Boule Noire
23rd – Amsterdam, NL Melkweg
From the comfort of your own home at 8pm on Tue 20th October at instagram.com/whelanslive