Released March 13, 2017
Engineered by Dominik Strutzenberger at DS – Music Studio – Leoben, Austria.
Mixed by Mark Glaister.
Mastered by Dave Blackman – Hiltongrove Mastering.
All written, performed and produced by the band in live single takes. Guitar – Laura Lee, Bass and vocals – John Harvey, drums and electronics – Mark Glaister. Recorded from the 14th to 18th of July 2016.
Eagle eyed readers might notice a new name appearing in the credits above. Possibility of Not (or PFG3) is our first record with (not so) new boy Mark Glaister hitting the skins and twiddling the knobs. By 2016, our first drummer Johnny was no longer a young man. Drumming for three years took his toll, and he discovered his knee cartilage was in fact made mostly of tissue paper. We tearfully bid him farewell and good luck as he went on to form Moper and shortly later welcomed Mark into the fold.
Mark met Laura at university on a Music masters course and she wasted no time in exploiting his youth and naturally trusting nature. He learned to drum playing in ska bands as a lad before moving on to become a techno DJ/Producer, so it made perfect sense for him to join a post-whatever-the-hell-we-are band. We threw him in the deep end immediately, having him learn some of the PFG classics and starting work on new material and adapting songs that we’d started work on with Johnny.
Parachute for Gordo is a collective, a pure democracy with no ego, no leader. The sound and ethos of the band is a result of the thoughts and feelings of all three members. Laura has a theory that three is a magic number, I think she might have stolen if from somewhere, who knows. That triangular sense of influence is important to us, and each member has an equal say and an input on what we are. Changing one of the members in a situation like that obviously has a massive impact on what the band is and we think that comes across on this record a lot. Johnny was always the most PUNK ROCK of all of us – John loves fuzz and funky post-punk basslines, Laura is staunchly anti-man-rock and has a twinkly, delay drenched sensibility. Mark came to us without knowing many of our references, he was steeped in electronica and dance music instead. He has a producer’s ear and a greater understanding of minimalism. At the same time as a new member, it took some time for his influence to truly be felt. When he joined us we had a clutch of songs that we’d written with Johnny and so partly he was learning these tunes and putting his own stamp on them, and then joining us in forging a path forwards.
Keen Gordites can likely spot the songs written with Johnny and those with Mark. For the uninitiated, Cornholio Slaps the Goose is the oldest song on this album, written between the recording and release of PFG2. We play it a little slower now perhaps, early live recordings find us holding onto the pace of it by the skin of our fingernails. Mark helped us slow it down a touch and even it out. Wallet Moth was the last song fully written with Johnny and is important as the first glimpse of what we would become moving forward. It’s a little less aggro and the expansive, confident second half shows a burgeoning interest in trance like repetition and 70s krautrock. There are shades of New Order or something similar in there. Anemone to Manatee was one of the final songs started with Johnny and when we worked on it with Mark literally every element except for one fragment was discarded piece by piece until we ended up with something quite unlike what we started with. In many ways, it’s a metaphor for our 2017.
New material written from the ground up with Mark starts with Jellied Eels, a Floyd referencing slow burn of a tune rescued and mutated from a fragment found in the PFG practice vaults. Album closer Put Your Hands Up If You Like Sloths was built out in a way similar to our very first song Manta Ray, with tight, intricate rhythms giving way to an epic, effects drenched freakout. Mark’s sense of timing and electro sensibilities are the key backbone to this track while Laura discards the fretboard entirely, opting to play her effects board instead. Rounding out the album as the last song we wrote, Gopher the Throat is where Mark really shined. It was originally conceived as an “acoustic” track written by John and Laura and a chordy bassline John had since his teen years. We gave Mark the demo and he returned it to us a day later as a techno banger. We we surprised and delighted. The version you hear on the record is around half the speed of the original demo, falling somewhere between the complexity of Mark’s electronics and the chilled atmosphere of the original (now floating around the internet as a song called Gopher a Nap).
To record the album, Laura called in one of her famous favours – Laura’s superpower is actually asking people very unreasonable favours and having them say yes. So without too much in the way of arm bending, she convinced her friend Dominik to record the album in an outhouse at his home in Austria, a beautiful location up in the mountains overlooking a valley filled with cows. Over the course of a few days we recorded the album in live takes, allowing ourselves time to get it right and to soak up the atmosphere. Dom was a generous and charming host as well as engineer. Sometimes when it’s quiet, we can still hear him intone “Overdubs? Overdubs” in the deepest recesses of our minds. You can see the venue we recorded in featured in the video for Gopher, our concept was to make a performance video without the band.
Which brings us onto the subject of videos, subtitled “The Rods We Make for Our Own Backs”. We had the frankly stupid idea to make a video for every track on the record with a budget of precisely nothing. Here’s a quick rundown:
Jellied Eels: the concept was simple. Wrap an iPhone in clingfilm. Film in slow motion. Put it in a swimming pool. Film the sky. Waves. Coloured paper. A dog, playfully splashing. The execution was less simple, but it worked so much better than we imagined.
Anemone to Manatee: the closest to a “proper” video we did. A fictionalised day in the life of our friend, man mountain and enthusiasm fountain Ricardo. It’s about escaping from the mundane reality of life, it ends with a dance sequence surrounded by Roller Derby ladies on skates wearing manatee masks in the legendary Agincourt club. It is glorious and nightmarish.
Wallet Moth: high concept. Landscapes taken by all three members of the band over a year of our lives. It shows the seasons and some of the places we’ve been. It includes Poppy the dog and Sookie the cat. It ends with a wonderfully psychedelic train journey through London intercut with driving through France and flying from Iceland.
Gopher the Throat: the aforementioned performance video with no band. Starring engineer/host Dom as he records the album, almost every shot has a member of the band just outside of the frame recording their parts. It came out being about loneliness.
Cornholio Slaps the Goose: oh I know, lets do an animation, that can’t be too hard can it? Six months work with John and his wife Ellie, she painting, him desperately trying to describe what he wants to do. “oh and for this bit we’re going to take the painting outside and set it on fire”. Where ambition overreaches talent.
Put Your Hands Up if You Like Sloths: a first person perspective look at what it’s like to go to a party, take too many drugs and turn neon. Absolutely not based on Smack My Bitch Up at all. Featuring the legendary garden festival called Wobblefest where nobody knew why we were shoving a camera in their faces. Part documentary, part making it up as we go.