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Stray Scene

Currently working on their new album, I meet Stray Scene at Sonic Moles Recording Studio for a sneak preview.  Actually, it's half of Stray Scene - Elijah Wilsher and Scotty Eccles.  Although there's no big drama in this, the other two just weren't free that night, it turns out that about six weeks previously, the future of the band was hanging in the balance.  Bassist Chris Fovargue suffered some health problems, leading to a series of fits; but when we meet at the studio, the lads are happy to report that he's back on active musical duty, and the recording is back on track.

In their current line-up, completed by drummer Sam Peacock, the band have been together for about 18 months; it was in existence about another 18 months before that but this mix was the one that seemed to bring Stray Scene to a new level, marked by the arrival of Eli.  As Scotty descibes it, the sound 'intensified' when it all slotted into place.  Now, perhaps as a result of having gone through a few bleak times themselves, their new material has, as Scotty explains, a much darker edge to it.  "Our previous stuff, we had some fun songs, like 'Your Mum's Shoes'.  It's not that we don't still like that track, but it just wouldn't be something we'd write now.  We're defining a new sound for us.  It's still developing, but will be very riff-based, but I think there's a Queens of the Stone Age / Black Rebel Motorcycle Club style of song coming through."

They all contribute to the writing process, and it's pretty organic.  Scotty might, for example, come to a session with the chords and lyrics, or Eli brings a riff; but the magic comes when they get together on it.  "They just make it mint,'" Scotty explains.  They've got together eleven tracks for this album, and might yet sneak one more on - Eli's recently had inspiration for another.  There might even be a little extra 'nugget', one that would be known to those fans who've travelled on the coach with the guys to their gigs further afield, such as York's Fibbers and Leeds Cockpit: Nils Arnold, often referred to as the band's own 'Bez' a la Happy Mondays, has a bus song, 'Please Don't Argue On The Bus'.  It would be a nice touch for their 'unoffical fifth member' to feature.

They don't deny that, even health problems aside, making an album is a long process, and changes your outlook on some tracks - it's an interesting learning process, different to the routine of gigging - 'you have this opportunity to review yourself that you don't get at a gig," says Eli..  They hope to have the album complete by the end of the summer, and come December time will be making an official video for She's My Saviour, which is the track I'm given a sneak preview of.  I can immediately hear what they mean about that darker sound - it's deep, bassy, almost sinister riffs, with an emotive croak to the vocals and some unexpected harmonies.  It's a polished, mature sound, with a drum-focused chorus that has the feet tapping and a surprise change of pace towards the end.  

When the album is out, Yorkshire Coast Gigs will provide a full review.  In the meantime, connect with Stray Scene on FacebookTwitter and MySpace.