Somewhere Else - Introduction

Introduction:  Album Fourteen takes a while to give up its secrets. I wrote in the Web UK mag that it took a train journey with the headphones pushed as far as I could get 'em into my ears and the lyric sheet before me, it finally clicked into place. In fact, I was possibly a bit premature in writing that, because bits keep dropping in all the time, the more I listen.


Sonically, the album is quite different from its immediate predecessors, Anoraknophobia and Marbles, and it's certain that this is down to the change in producer. Mike Hunter's production is very much more natural that the over-dubbed soundscapes Dave Meegan created on the previous two albums. There's a lot more space, and the instrumentation is a lot more organic sounding too. In places, the production reminds me of Marillion.com, See it Like a Baby, in particular and this is no bad thing.

Lyrically, this is an album of two parts. One is concerned with h's relationship issues, the other about humanitarian, ecological and social issues.

The relationship side encompasses The Other Half, Thankyou, Whoever You Are, See It Like A Baby, Somewhere Else, The Wound and Faith. To me, there is a chronology to the songs that is different from the order they go on the album, as follows: The Wound, Somewhere Else,
Thankyou, Whoever You Are, The Other Half, See It Like A Baby and Faith. This is somewhat determined by what h has said about the state of his relationships; the break up of his marriage and the flowering of new love with someone else, but I'm not suggesting there's anything other than my arbitrary opinion in that.

The social/ humanitarian side is Most Toys (debatably), Voice from the Past and Last Century for Man.

No Such Thing
sort of straddles the two (or possibly doesn't fit my notion that the album should be easily divisible in to just two types of song)!

The album has hit number 24 in the UK album charts, the highest entry since Afraid of Sunlight in 1995, and was critically well received, but many fans were unhappy with the sound of the record, which they felt was too unpolished.

Cover notes: The cover is a pair of coin-operated binoculars of the sort you might find at a tourist attraction set against a deep blue sky. A stylised 'compass' icon is in place of a manufacturer's logo. It is by Carl Glover once more. There is no writing on the cover, although there is a transparent sticker on the CD case with  handwritten white outline font by Glover. The cover was a late choice. Originally, the album was to be called '14', and a cover was designed to go with this, possibly the flower wreath in the booklet. However, with the change of name, came a new cover.
 
It has been pointed out that there is a similarity to a compilation by Weather Report (see right). The band were aware of this before the album's release but felt that since they had developed their picture independently and it was pure coincidence, they would go ahead with the cover as was.

2 comments:

  1. I'm not sure I agree that the production is like 'Dotcom'. A lot of 'Dotcom' contained Steve WIlson's sonic magic and it sounds astonishingly pristine. To me, Somewhere Else sounds like a glorified demo tape!! In fact, I'd say the album sounds like a band in rehearsal rather than a band making an album. :)

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    1. Well, Anonymous, I don't share your dislike of the production which will colour how we both see it but I think what I meant was that as DotCom has a somewhat lo-fi non-gloss finish, so too has SWE. Does that make any sense?

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