There appears to be no time to rest for Frightened Rabbit pair Scott and Grant Hutchinson. The brothers, who recently finished up a 10 Year Anniversary tour of F’Rabbit’s seminal sophomore album, The Midnight Organ Fight, have quickly turned their attentions to their latest project; Mastersystem.
Joining forces with Editors‘ guitarist Justin Lockey and his brother James (both of whom are part of another multi-band collaboration; Scottish post-rock super-group, Minor Victories), Mastersystem are set to release their debut album, Dance Music, this week, via Physical Education.
And the album is everything you would hope for from a project combining the mighty forces of Frightened Rabbit, Editors and Minor Victories; it’s dark, honest, and soaring, with a touch of post-rock fuzz. Listen to latest single, ‘Old Team’ below.
Talking about the record, Scott explains; “I thought it would be interesting to play around with the themes of restlessness and dissatisfaction on this album, both as a counterpoint to the exuberance of the music and as an obvious reference to the angst and tension I heard in the grunge and fuzz of my teenage years. This is not the angst of a teenager, however. This is the anxiety of a man in his mid-30s, and for a lot of this record I found myself wrestling with the ways in which I am not quite doing life right, in spite of appearing to lead a relatively joyful, playful and artistic existence. ”
But while the two sets of brothers may be surrounded by a rich array of musical influences from their respective bands, there’s always a place where a love of music was born, and still remains today… So Vulture Hound asked Scott and Grant to talk about those records that changed their lives…
Nick Cave & The Badseeds – Abbatoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus
This is an imposing, glowing tower of an album. Not only is there not a single bad track on it (a rare achievement for a double album) but every moment on this is outstanding to me. There’s raw power and delicacy sitting side by side and I think it’s some of Nick Cave’s best lyrical work. It definitely proved to be a strong source of inspiration when I was constructing the content for the Mastersystem album. The landscapes are often dream-like, unfamiliar and occasionally frightening and it makes for a truly thrilling listen. Highlights for me (if I had to choose) are ‘There She Goes, My Beautiful World’ and ‘Breathless’. But really, just listen to the whole thing.
Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
I can return to this album at any time and it will still surprise me and prove relevant to my situation. The lilt in Sharon’s voice is so heartbreaking, but then the lyrics reveal a much darker side on repeat listens. It’s one of the few albums that can bring a tear to the eye and I don’t think that will ever change for me. It lives in my past and my present, I’m listening to it now in fact. Good music should fill your entire being and this one goes all the way to my toes. The opening track ‘Afraid of Nothing’ is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.
Placebo – Placebo
This is one of the most exciting drum records I’ve ever heard. I remember seeing the cover pasted everywhere around Edinburgh when it came out and thinking it was a bit crap, but hearing it was a whole other thing. The blend of technical playing and natural punk/rock playing is perfect and it’s probably my favourite debut album from my youth. I played along to this constantly – which must’ve sounded like dog shite to my parents, as I was definitely not good enough to play it!
Radiohead – Pablo Honey
I’m so glad I heard this record before any other Radiohead albums, as I’m not sure working back from any of the following records would work in its favour. I listened to this all the time in high school with Doug, the bassist in our high school band. I love how this band can release whatever they like and still maintain a level of quality and familiarity that few other bands can achieve. Although this is probably their least ‘intelligent’ work, it still holds itself up against the rest of the catalogue, in my opinion. ‘Anyone Can Play Guitar’ is still one of my favourite Radiohead songs to this day.
Dance Music will be released worldwide April 6 2018 via Physical Education Recordings.
Catch Mastersystem on tour during April and May:
Wed, 25, UK, Manchester, The Deaf Institute
Thu, 26, UK, Newcastle upon Tyne, The Cluny
Fri, 27, UK, Glasgow, The Art School
Sat, 28, UK, Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
Mon, 30, UK, Birmingham, Birmingham O2 Institute 3
Tue, 1, UK, London, Oslo