The Alibis

Songwriting Boot Camp a.k.a The Difficult Second A***m

Well hey there!

So, what have we been up to?

Last year as we were doing a handful of gigs to promote Now We’re Even, we started work on a handful of songs for a possible 3 or 4 track follow-up EP.
Progress was very quick in two cases (a rocker called Unopened Eyes and a ballad known as Stet), while the third song, Steel and Stars, had been stuck in limbo for a long time, until we had one of those “Eureka!” moments and the song got built up to something we were happy with.

I’m not sure who the guilty party was (I’ve narrowed it down to Amy or Amy) but when we were discussing recording, during rehearsals leading up to our November gig at Opium, said party opined that it might be more worthwhile to do another album. Cue puffed out cheeks and nervous glances between Rob and myself!

Nevertheless Rob and I decided that we would meet weekly during January and throw around new ideas for songs and see what we could come up with. Last June I moved into a new flat, so we decided that my front room – still without blinds and curtains – would be a suitable venue.

During the course of practices in early-to-mid 2016 we had played around with a couple of ideas. One was just a spiralling guitar riff (actually more reminiscent of the early Alibis poppy sound) and the other a more sinister groove, which was lacking a coherent chorus. We brought both of those out of the mothballs, and Rob prepared lyrics. The spiralling guitar one, after I had added an idea for a bridge, sounded pretty good and was named The Start Of Everything. The slightly more sinister one had the working name “Enough” and I remember planting the seeds of it at New Years at Rob’s a couple of years ago! Rob had already written a strong set of verse lyrics, with various line suggestions, and all I had to do was pick the ones that scanned best. I sent Rob a selection of extra lyrics and he was able to hammer them into a working chorus. Rob also sent me a Curtis Mayfield song to listen to for inspiration. No pressure, just try to sound like an all-time legend!

Elsewhere, we dusted two *much* older songs out of storage. Splinters was written by Rob around the same time as he wrote Letters (2011-12) and for my money was always the more interesting of the two, but disagreements about vocals had always held it back. We have since worked out a two-state solution!

The other older song, Shadows is a low-key lo-fi song that relies very much upon precision. With my less-than-legendary guitar skills, this may prove one obstacle too many, but Rob remains optimistic, bless him.

The final song was based off a fingerstyle guitar piece that I had been playing around with for months. I was never really able to get many vocals going as it disrupted my concentration on the finger-picking. Thankfully, Rob’s superior guitarmanship allowed him to take the strain with the riff and I was able to concentrate on nailing a vocal. We went back back-and-forth on some suggestions for a hook/chorus and once we had something we were happy with, the song was (almost) ready to go.

Second week in February saw full band practice for the first time since November…. how did we get on? Promising. Start of Everything, Splinters and Enough were aired, and we were excited by all being back together and working on new things. It will be interesting to see, if the second album does indeed show up, which songs survived and in what form. They often tend to transform excessively between the gestation period and the final finished product!

Anyway – we look forward to seeing you all soon and premiering what songs we have ready for you! Take care out there,

Gareth

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