We're excited to share the full album stream of The Third Sound's enigmatic new LP, Gospels of Degeneration, due out this Friday 22nd April.
Preceded by the singles “You Are Not Here” featuring Tess Parks, and "Never Catch Her Again", which UK’s Clash magazine called “a languid smoky piece of psychedelic rock” from a group who are “lynchpins of the underground.”
What began as the project of Icelandic frontman Hakon Aðalsteinsson (ex Singapore Sling), The Third Sound is now stretching its definition with deeper levels of collaboration between band members and the influence of a new character in its story, the city of Berlin where the group are now based.
Aðalsteinsson says, “The album explores different sides of life in a big city, and seeking the beauty found in strange places and within unusual characters. Although it wasn't meant as a theme initially, somehow the album turned out to be very much inspired by Berlin and my experience in the city.”
The sound also shows a shift having toned down the shimmery psychedelia in favour of something a little cleaner, but still retaining the group’s hypnotic layering and itching guitar riffs that keep whispering through your mind for hours after listening.
Aðalsteinsson’s plangent vocals feel more at home than ever and are matched by a confident disregard of contingency as the band flick between waltzing post-punk cuts and country lilts with seeming indifference. It feels as if their assuredness has provoked them to go on the hunt for new sonic niches that they can confidently take reign of.
The evolved sound is perhaps a sign of a shift in the song writing process. Still lead by Aðalsteinsson, who creates the concept for each song and writes the lyrics, the process now sees a deeper level of collaboration between members with guitarist Robin Hughes developing the guitar parts, and Hughes, Leo Kaage on drums and Aðalsteinsson together co-producing the album.
The Third Sound are back with their third album, and second on Fuzz Club, Gospels of Degeneration. Ten songs that will rip through you. It’s an album that was recorded in a small studio and you can hear more of the stripped down sound of the band and their use of instruments to get across the many feelings and emotions.
I love the use of guitar throughout the album and think it plays a huge part of making it feel different from other The Third Sound records, without taking away the quintessential sound of the band. With songs like “Charlatan” and the opening track, “We Got All You Need”, the drumming has that really great and fantastic garage like feel to it. Lay down the guitar over the top, and you have some of their best songs.
The nostalgic feel of “You Are Not Here” mixed with the amazing vocals of frontman Hakon Aðalsteinsson and Tess Parks, and you want to find a dark, smoky bar somewhere and sit back with a whiskey. “Before There Was You” rips my insides into shreds with that guitar. The emotion really pours out of that and it’s just an amazing song, both musically and lyrically.
The album as a whole hits with so much power, power that you don’t feel at first. It gains more through each listen. You hear the band's soul pouring and washing all over you...and you can’t put it down.
I had a chance to catch up with Hakon and ask him a few questions about the album to give some some insight into this record...
A couple years back when I interviewed you after the release of your second album, The Third Sound of Destruction and Creation, I asked you to sum up the album in a sentence. It wasn’t an easy task by any means but you did it: “Musically expanded album exploring a wide range of (sometimes) contrasting themes, where the borders between, light and darkness, dream and reality, pop and experimental elements start disappearing.” How would you say things have changed for Gospels of Degeneration?
Things are always different from album to album, both because it reflects the situation you were in when the album was made and because you want to push things forward. There were a lot of changes within the band when we were planning to start recording this album. Our bass player had left (but has now returned again) and we did not have a drummer until we met Leo who has a small studio where the album was recorded. The main song ideas had been written some time before we started and I did not wanna sit around and wait so me, Robin (guitar) and Leo just went ahead and recorded the songs.
Robin and I had discussed making an album that was not as layered and produced sounding as the last one, we wanted something a bit more straight forward this time and to rely on the songwriting itself rather than decorating with heavy use of effects, so it made perfect sense to make a record in a small and simple studio.
The album is another amazing piece. The guitar work throughout this really stands out, especially after a few listens and you are able to absorb it all. It’s an extension of your soul at many times, where you can FEEL that emotion just right there, slamming into your being. So beautiful and heart wrenching. Can you elaborate a bit on the song writing, and how the guitar played a part in bringing these songs to so much level and depth?
There was more time to work the songs out this time since we did not have a deadline like last time, It was a slower process and I would send Robin unfinished recordings so he could spend time working on his part before coming in to record. In some cases there was also a different approach because I would start a song with the bass line which allowed me and Robin to do more guitar harmonies together.
The first single from the album, “You Are Not Here”, features Tess Parks. Can you tell us about this collaboration? Was this song written with her, or you just had her in mind?
It is a song I wrote a while ago but I was not sure if it would fit on the album and when I presented it to Robin and Leo the idea of making it a duet was still just in my head. I had met Tess when she was recording her album with Anton and just thought she had an amazing voice, so when she got in touch few months later while we were recording saying she was coming back to Berlin I took it as a sign and asked her if she would be up for singing it with me.
Following “You Are Not Here” come the songs “Hole In My Heart” and “Before There Was You”. Both songs are favourites from the album. What can you tell us about those songs?
I think they are both good examples of the straightforward simple approach I mentioned, because it could have been easy to do a lot more layers there but we just did not feel it was necessary. Lyrically speaking they both deal with losing someone close to you but two completely different ways of dealing with it.
What more would you like to add about the new album?
I guess I realised afterwards that a lot of the lyrics are in one way or another somehow reflecting my experience and ideas of Berlin. Not only personal experience, also what I have seen around me and the reputation of the city as sort of a hedonistic place. This is not in any way a concept album but this is at least one of the themes.
- Nathan J Barrett of Floats Inside A Bubble
The Third Sound have shared a suitably nostalgic video for “You Are Not Here”, the first single from their new album, Gospels of Degeneration, out on April 1st.
Directed by London street photographer and video artist Ruari Meehan, the video weaves together layers of dreamy footage to evoke fading memories of summer romance, with a golden nostalgic glow.
It’s a fitting illustration for the track, which is a sweet and sour ballad of love and loss that pairs the gravelly vocals of The Third Sound frontman Hakon Aðalsteinsson with Tess Parks’ dark and wispy voice. The gently repeating chorus - “I’ll run through fire to get you back in my life. In my sleepless nights I’m reminded that you are not here” – is like a mantra for melancholy.
The single “You Are Not Here” comes from The Third Sound’s third album, Gospels of Degeneration, which will be released April 2016 on Fuzz Club, and supported by a tour of the UK and Europe in June.
“You Are Not Here” is a four-minute ballad of love and yearning that plunges the group’s country-tinged psychedelia into the sombre shadows of modern life in Berlin, which the album explores as its central theme.
The resulting sound is somewhat cleaner and darker than previous albums but is littered with surprising sweetness in its poeticism, percussion and nostalgic glow. The gently repeating chorus - “I’ll run through fire to get you back in my life. In my sleepless nights I’m reminded that you are not here” – echoes the baggy haziness of both artists’ previous work.
The duet entwines frontman Hakon Aðalsteinsson’s plangent voice, which sounds like it’s echoing through a dark and lonely night, with Parks’ sweet, smoky exhale that sounds as if it’s been raised on cigarettes and honey. The vocals are set atop lilting percussion and trickling guitar riffs, which are bound to become a standout feature of the new album as they continue to whisper through your mind for hours after listening.
Since forming in 2010, The Third Sound have enjoyed the support of psych godfather Anton Newcombe, who released their self-titled first album, on his label a recordings, and chose the group to support The Brian Jonestown Massacre on tour in Europe. He also provided the studio for recording their second album The Third Sound of Destruction and Creation which was released on Fuzz Club in 2013. Most recently they’ve shared members with Anton Newcombe and Tess Parks’ band, which has led to Parks’ appearance on “You Are Not Here.”
Founded by Icelandic frontman, Hakon Aðalsteinsson - an ex-member of Singapore Sling who
are often hailed as the founding members of the new psych scene - The Third Sound came into being in Rome and have since relocated to Berlin.
What began as somewhat of a solo project by Aðalsteinsson, the new album sees The Third Sound stretching its definition with deeper levels of collaboration between band members and the influence of a new character in its story, the city of Berlin.
The Third Sound is Hakon Aðalsteinsson, who creates the concept for each song and writes the lyrics, guitarist Robin Hughes who develops the guitar parts, Leo Kaage on drums. The trio co-produced the album, which was recorded in Berlin in Kaage’s homebuilt studio with gear that was begged, borrowed and stolen from friends and collaborators.
The group’s sound has been described as “ebbing between light and dark, dream and reality, pop and experimentalism” and “ranging from hypnotic soundscapes to tweaked out and fuzzed up numbers.” And the band themselves have been called “lynchpins of the psychedelic underground”.
The single is available from our Bandcamp page and leading digital retailers. The album will be available on vinyl, CD, cassette, digital, and deluxe edition vinyl which is available exclusively through fuzzclub.com.