The irrepressible duo of Jenny McLaren (vocals, guitars) and Ricardo Autobahn (synthesizers) better known as Spray, those national treasures of pop that have terrorised the music charts (and Cliff Richard) in various guises since the late 1990s, produce their first works of 2020 with a new EP Offerings From The Algorithm out 22nd of May 2020.
McLaren and Autobahn have an impressive CV by any standards. Topping the Festive 50 twice, recorded possibly (one of) the best Peel Session ever, selling over a million records, gaining a top 4 UK chart hit and appearing on Top of the Pops as The Cuban Boys (with the infectious Cognoscenti vs Intelligentsia). There are also the Eurovision adventures, the collaborations with Daz Sampson (which yielded another Top 10 hit with Rhinestone Cowboy sung by Glenn Campbell himself), and the TV and video game soundtrack work.
Following a busy 2019 where they not only released Failure Is Inevitable their first album on AnalogueTrash (and accompanying remix EP), played live to enthusiastic audiences and released a Christmas single with The Lancashire Hotpots, Spray continue their red-hot form with a pulsating four-track EP ripe for your summer playlists.
Kicking off with the single remix of Chump (For My Love) from the aforementioned Failure Is Inevitable, a new pop sparkle is given to the best ballad on the album and is easily the most outwardly relaxed track here, in which Jenny’s glorious vocals ring through. Pulses and BPM rise significantly across the remainder of the EP with tracks like Everybody Dances (To Digital Music) guaranteed to get Spray devotees bouncing around living rooms, working men’s clubs, and at the next Spray gig.
The signature acerbic Spray lyrical content (and tongues being placed firmly in cheeks) abound in both One Way Ticket To Hitsville, and You’ll Never Be Forgiven and as always demands the listener pays close attention to the content behind those utterly infectious tunes to fully comprehend the wit and message wrapped in a silk glove.
“It’s a good way to try out topical material like the anti-Brexit You’ll Never Be Forgiven,” laughs keyboard wizard Ricardo Autobahn when speaking about the EP, “…but coronavirus has rendered that old news! We’ve also got a new video that we made before lockdown started.”
Speaking about the title track and associated video, the band say:
“Chump (For My Love) is a sort of love song but with a healthy serving of Spray cynicism. It’s a love song rooted in reality, rather than the harps and angels of normal ballads. The album version was played totally straight with acoustic guitars and nice strings and it’s the closest we’ve come to making a Radio 2 record, so we reworked it for the single to be totally synthpop just to be awkward.
For the video we just went up to Crosby Beach – home of Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ statues – with a small crew because it was a dramatic looking day and got some footage down. There was a storm coming in. We didn’t really think it through any further than than and when we watched it back out of context it looked pretty straight and serious, like the sort of thing a normal band would do to show how moody and sensitive they are. So we did a sort of ‘Pop Up Video’/’Chart Show’ caption treatment on it to give it a bit more of our trademark wackiness.”
For those that know them, this is a welcome addition to the Spray catalogue they hold with such affection. For those starting out on their Spray journey, this is leftfield indie disco synthpop – with a big stick!