2014: The Water Between Us

Finding a theme for an album seems to help enormously with my songwriting. I won’t deny a certain flirtation with prog rock during my formative years but I was never really a fan of fantasy and don’t look good in a satin cape. A simple theme however, helps me develop ideas, especially lyrics.

The theme of water came from an obsession with the drowned village of Ladybower in Derbyshire which I’d seen as a kid, when a drought brought the old church spire out the water. It was a thrilling and mystical experience. I’d also been working on a documentary, the Cult of Water, which explores our island’s old water rituals and goddess worship. But while this album does celebrate the faded glory of coastal towns, the inner world of rockpools and the ‘stone ears’ on Dungeness beach, at heart The Water Between Us is about the barriers we create in our struggle to love. Hell, yes, I was dealing with a failed relationship.

Wanting to move away from the darker themes and sounds of The Raven’s Empire, I teamed up with producer Julian Tardo who’d worked with Fujiya&Miyagi and Fear of Men. Julian was keen to bring a new lightness to the band’s sound. Strange Love is, I think, the most uptempo track we’ve ever recorded. The melancholia and self-pitying lyrics of The Lighthouse Keeper at the end of the record however, show that, in the end, I won the battle.