The Cold Spells

A 9 track alternative album (47m 13s) — released February 2nd 2018 on Gare du Nord Records

East London/Essex duo The Cold Spells release their eponymous debut album on Gare du Nord Records. Four years in the making, and fusing a range of folk, psychedelic, indie and electronic influences - from Cluster, Shirley Collins and Robert Wyatt, via Penda's Fen, Riddley Walker, Nico, Martin Carthy, Numbers Stations and more - the album is designed to be played as a whole. The tracks are linked together by sonic vignettes and effects, and the overall shape and atmosphere - other-worldly, outsider songs built with a mix of drum machines, guitars, harmonium, electronics and sound effects - also hints back to albums like Matt Johnson's Burning Blue Soul (pre The The) or perhaps The Sweetest Girl era Scritti Politti.

The Cold Spells will be doing a small selection of live shows around the release.


"It's not so much the ghost in the machine as the moss in the circuit board"

Wrought from estuary accented lichen, scrabbled from brine and moss, love and loss, wheezing synths and knackered harmoniums; The Cold Spells' full length debut is a record for people who filter nature through distortion pedals.

The Cold Spells' eponymous full-length debut has been around four years in the making, crafted in bedrooms of the East London/Essex borders. These aren't songs of cities or of suburbia, but of that awkward in-between magick space strewn with psychic rubble, left to crumble amid a chattering low, static hum. It's a folkish record of outskirts, both geographically and in the sound's persistent interplay of traditional song-craft and layers of digital effect oddities.

It was in those not-quite-city-not-yet-suburban spaces that the "little psychodramas" that spawned these eight songs were born. Rendered through kitchen-sink psychedelia meets modern day folk, the joy of these songs lies in their simultaneous accessibility and ambiguity. The sea, the forest, the dark: these have long been powerful and poignant metaphors, but suddenly an abandoned mental hospital waste ground somewhere near Hainault takes on the same potency. Underneath it all, they mostly bubble down to sex and death – but then, what doesn't?

The Cold Spells is an album for the anti-shuffler – not linear exactly, but created for a compellingly holistic listen: even the soundcapes between the tracks offer subtle keys to their meaning. Such is the beauty of the record: each moment offers a snippet of narrative and meaning, but without smugness. There's no trying to catch you out – there's simplicity in the complexity. Even the sleeve design gestures to the record's mood: the cover's typography is structured in a triangular form that mimics the layout of traditional Abracadabra incantations.

To borrow from the title of the album's eerily comforting closer, The Cold Spells is a Maelstrom that twists universal and abstruse references – Cluster, Shirley Collins, Robert Wyatt, Penda's Fen, Riddley Walker, Nico, Martin Carthy, Numbers Stations, witch trials through the eyes of Aldous Huxley, Threads, Moondog, Play For Today, dissociation, the farthest eastern reaches of the District Line, losing your mind and finding it again slightly altered – into a beautiful, poignant whole.


Tim Ward (songs/vocals/guitars)

Michael Farmer (keyboards/vocals)

Catherine Plewa (bass guitar)

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