Those of you that have experienced the tumult of a set by heavy psych doom band Formes will be somewhat surprised to listen to the new EP, ‘Wake Up Lie Down’, from the band’s former front man, Steven McNamara. The EP is very much a stripped back acoustic set of songs that in many ways could be described as the antithesis of Formes’ sonic barricades.
Speaking of the transition Steven comments:
“I’d say my move from Formes was a very hard one to make, because I love that band, and more importantly love playing in a band with my brother and good friend Rob (aka The Alchemist). However, logistically it couldn’t carry on the way things were. I moved over 60 miles away from the natural home of Formes in West Yorkshire, and the trans-Peninne drive was getting to me and was hurting the progression of the band.”
Indeed Steven’s new music seems very much in keeping with his new bucolic surroundings in rural Lancashire, but for him it is not such a radical departure as those only familiar with Formes later music might imagine:
“I have always made music for myself before Formes started. One of Formes first songs, ‘Absence of the Noise’ was a song I had written just before Formes were even a thing, and it is this sound, the melancholy, psych, blues, dreampop almost, that I think deserves more exploration. This song was played by Tom Robinson on BBC6 music. I want to pick up where I left off and create music that someone can lie down to in their own little world and let the music take them elsewhere, not too far away but far enough. As a whole, I’d like to think ‘Wake up, Lie Down’ EP achieves that.”
If this was his aim, then he has certainly achieved that and these are songs that are seeping with introspection, take ‘Lost in Myself’ for instance, which like some of the other songs on the EP picks up some of the psychological themes from ‘Dysphoria Part 1‘…
However, Steven is keen that his songs are not disconnected or isolated from everyday experience:
“These aren’t songs to listen to out of context, although some do work that way, ‘Turn Around’ and ‘So Low’ for example, are the nearest things I’ve made to a bonafide traditional ‘song’. Others like ‘Lost in Myself’ and ‘Voices’, the most psych tracks on the EP require a certain mindframe. But it is this mindframe that appeals to me most and will be exploring in future releases.”
Steven’s new direction is one that is full of haunting melodies and is clearly the product of some deep soul searching, there is obviously a lot of himself in this music which is every bit as involving and invasive as with his previous releases, and certainly nothing is ruled out in terms of going back to that in time:
“I’m sure Jordan and Rob will have great success in their new band Sick Tapestry, I’ve heard the demos and they sound great, heavy and weird. Who knows, there may be a way of making things work in future.”
Steven McNamara’s EP is available on all the usual platforms, and can be downloaded here from his bandcamp page.