Taken from their upcoming second album (out 14th October via Wood Head Records), the collective’s new single blazes bright with its incendiary violins, glowing accordions and profound lyricism that will warm even the coldest of souls.
Piratical by sound, political in its nature, ‘The Fires of England’ takes the listener back to a time of great turmoil across our four nations; the repercussions of which are still being felt today… As frontman Rich Quarterman explains:
“Not sure if it’s wise to mention the B-word but ‘The Fires Of England’ came about shortly after the Brexit referendum, although it’s taken a while for the lyrics to settle, and strangely they seem more and more apt as the years of political and climatic upheaval go by.”
Reflecting on the repercussion our decisions have on the next generation, while paying homage to the Greta Thunberg-led school protests that burned so bright with the promise of the new; it’s a song ultimately about choices and change “and the fact that our children often teach us more than we know, as long as our eyes and ears are open” adds Rich. “There’s a nod to Oysterband in there too.”
Steeped in that classic tradition of mixing folk and folklore, ‘The Fires of England’ recalls the trad-infused touchstones of past masters such as Led Zeppelin to Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention to The Waterboys and sees the band lighting a potent new beacon in that fine lineage.
Like much of the album it is taken from, the song was recorded completely live (even the speed-up outro) at the iconic Rockfield Studios in Wales, with the exception of its whistle orchestra break, which “came about after we left producer Jamie Evans with our only whistle player Dan Gilroy and a few bottles of whisky for company” Rich adds.
Alongside recent lead single “Born Drunk”, “The Fires Of England” begins to build up a greater picture of what to expect from Man The Lifeboats’ upcoming studio album Soul Of Albion.
A record that asks the question: what does Albion mean in the 21st Century?, it mirrors the journey undergone by a close friend of the band who traversed across the British Isles in search of some answers. With each song on the record intended to provide a snapshot of life on these islands, from Somerstown to Stourbridge, from the hills of Caledonia to the gates of Soho Square, the Soul Of Albion is a quest as brave as it foolhardy, as familiar as it new as introspective as it is exhilarating.
From full-throttle folk flings to darker ruminations, traditional instrumentals to tender ballads, and (of course) an obligatory ranting protest song, ‘SOUL OF ALBION’ sees Man The Lifeboats take all the winning ingredients of their 2019 debut, while taking their sound full-sail in intrepid new directions too. Produced and mixed by Jamie Evans, engineered by Jack Boston and mastered by Gav McGrath at Zvuk Mastering, the album was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales, in 2021.
Around the release, Man The Lifeboats will be taking Soul Of Albion to the venues of Albion, with live dates planned throughout November. A special album release party will also take place at a location with a rich maritime history – The Golden Hinde. Catch the band this autumn at these venues as follows:
MAN THE LIFEBOATS – ‘SOUL OF ALBION TOUR’ PT.1
Friday 14 October – Album Release Party @ The Golden Hinde, London
Friday 4th – Chapel Arts Centre, Bath
Friday 11th – The Underland, Falmouth
Saturday 12th – The Barn, Deepdale, Norfolk
Sunday 13th – Katie Fitzgeralds, Stourbridge
Friday 18th – The Globe, Newcastle
Saturday 19th – West Witton Village Hall, North Yorkshire
Thursday 24th – The Castle Tap, Reading
Friday 25th – The Railway, Winchester
Saturday 26th – The Lexington, London
Tickets on sale here: https://www.manthelifeboats.com
‘The Fires Of England’: