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Archangel (UK)

Archangel are a brilliant new band.

That’s not strictly true. They’re not really a band.

But you can keep the bit about “brilliant”.

Archangel is the brainchild of Nick Webber, a young man from west London with a strong will and a warped imagination who spent ayear and a half going quietly mad in the wilds of Wiltshire as he recorded his masterpiece aka the soundtrack of his life. The album inquestion and the answer to your prayers, How To Lose Your Best Friend, comprises 11 magnificently overwrought and dramaticallyfashioned songs that expl ...read more

Archangel are a brilliant new band.

That’s not strictly true. They’re not really a band.

But you can keep the bit about “brilliant”.

Archangel is the brainchild of Nick Webber, a young man from west London with a strong will and a warped imagination who spent ayear and a half going quietly mad in the wilds of Wiltshire as he recorded his masterpiece aka the soundtrack of his life. The album inquestion and the answer to your prayers, How To Lose Your Best Friend, comprises 11 magnificently overwrought and dramaticallyfashioned songs that explore the lexicon of love with an epic sweep and neon glow that will remind you of all your favourite 70s and80s groups while sounding utterly contemporary. Archangel – whose name comes from a scene in the film Apocalypse Now! – arewhere ABC meet Arcade Fire.

How did he do that? He did it, first and foremost, alone in a recording studio based in a bungalow in Wiltshire, “in the middle ofnowhere”, as he puts it, using equipment he’d accrued from years on the margins of the music industry, where he learned his craftand plotted his next moves. Having written nine of the 11 tracks himself, he proceeded to perform and produce them all by himself,darting between the controls and the instruments during a process that was pure solipsist monomania.

“It took 18 months and it nearly killed me,” he recalls. “I became a bit schizophrenic after a while; I went a bit crackers. How maddid it get? I didn’t know who I was anymore. I don’t know if I’d do it again, doing everything all by myself. There were a few crazymoments where I thought I was losing the plot. It was a bit like [the film] Papillion: I was going quietly bonkers. But it was good in away. It was a real achievement..

Nick’s obsessive determination to handle the production as well as vocal, guitar, piano, electronic keyboard, synth-bass andpercussion duties, which meant he’d have to literally press “record” and run to the drum kit or the guitar and start playing, stemsfrom his earlier stints as a producer. Having cut his teeth on a series of “obscure white-label electronic records, very groovy Hoxtonhouse music which frankly wasn’t my bag,” and a variety of other projects over the years, he learned quite quickly that he washappier having total control himself. “I’ve had help before,” he says, “and I’ve never really been happy with it. I like the idea that, if Ifuck up, I’ve got no one else to blame..

There was just one surprise yet pleasant intrusion by the outside world during his period of isolation, and that was when Zane Lowechanced upon the demo of Archangel’s track Physical Energy, was blown away, and decided to play it several times. It gave him hopeand the strength to carry on with his meisterwerk. “It made me realise there was a world out there,” says Nick, who was in a localcountry pub when the chef leaned through the kitchen hatch and said of the song being played on the pub radio, “Hey, Nick, is thisyours?” He remembers: “Zane Lowe said, ‘I know nothing about this track, I just found it on my desk and I absolutely love it.’ It wasreally surreal. He played it a few times, so did [xfm’s] John Kennedy, and that got it onto MTV2. Things suddenly started happening,and that spurred me on..

Nick was born into a musical family at the end of the 70s, and it remains one of his favourite music eras – in fact, one of the firstsongs he learned to play was Janet Kay’s Lovers Rock classic from 1979, Silly Games. Other music from that time and just after, bybands and artists such as Roxy Music, The Police, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Psychedelic Furs, Japan and ABC, has informed thesumptuous, dramatic pop of Archangel’s debut album, How To Lose Your Best Friend.

“Pop music of the 70s and 80s is where my heart lies,” he says. “I wanted to make a great pop record: dark, up, weird, with lots ofshort songs. You’ve got to be a good self-editor. You can’t bang on for ages. It must be lean..

The title of the album is a reference to Nick’s split from his long-term girlfriend, one that led to his 18-month sojourn in Wiltshireand kick-started the album. “It’s quite mysterious,” he says of the title. “It can mean anything.” It’s also the title of the openingtrack, a powerful, arresting piece of, yes, dark, up pop music that drives its hook home and is both energetic and edgy but doesn’ttell you how to lose your best friend. “Like I say, it’s important to be mysterious. And I like the idea of making people stop for amoment and think, ‘What does that really mean?’.

Nick talks about the live aspect of his music; “Fans come up to me and tell me I’ve got this bizarre nervous energy on stage,” hesays. “It’s all quite frenetic. But there’s glamour, too, and sleaze. I like wearing nicely cut suits. Basically, if I had my way and moneywas no object, I’d be Robert Palmer or Bryan Ferry with loads of female backing singers, a huge horn section and a massive band..





"Eleven magnificently overwrought and dramatically fashioned songs that explore the lexicon of love with an epic sweep and neonglow that will remind you of all your favourite 70s and 80s groups while sounding utterly contemporary." The Guardia.

“the sound made by a young man with a serious record collection having monstrous amounts of fun, and almost bafflingly, it works” Word Magazin.

“Corking, angular art-punk” NM.

“Pumping indie-funk probably wouldn’t work without this one man at the helm, playing all the instruments, controlling the direction,perfecting every piece, riding solo and powering through. Archangel demonstrates that as Tom Vek did (and with similar funk, dancesensibilities) a one man attack is a smart attack. The album is good good great” Nothing But Green Light.

“Starting off Like the Foo Fighter’s Everlong played on a beaten up organ before exploding into a psyche-Beach Boys-ian indie stomp,electrifying from start to finish with a sadness at the heart of it, definitely one’s to watch!” A Subba Cultcha Single Of The Mont.

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How To Lose Your Best Friend
2008

4.5
2 Votes

Contributors: Voivod, TomorrowNeverKnows,

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