Exclusive streamed preview from The Dreaming Spires from the forthcoming Paisley Overground album
It must all go back to The Beatles and their ringing 12-string Rickenbackers, heard by us all as children, and heard by Roger (Jim) McGuinn too. In the Bennett household the band were bouncing round the living room to all of ‘Hard Day’s Night’ and to ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ as well, despite being 30 years too late for the moment that chord first struck. They didn’t know either that The Long Ryders and others were right then resuscitating that sound, with a discordant edge, in sweaty rock clubs on Sunset Boulevard, planting a seed that led to California’s modern day Rickenbacker revivalists. When they started creating pop songs dominated by the chime of the 12-string guitar in their band Goldrush – ones that even made the real charts – the lads weren’t the first Brits to revive the sound; Tony Poole’s Starry Eyed & Laughing had done so in the ’70s when McGuinn and co were already fading out of fashion. Sid Griffin of The Long Ryders and Tony Poole are both on board here, Sid contributing ‘Tell Her All The Time’, and Tony producing and playing on that track and the first two Dreaming Spires tracks on the EP, as well as mastering the record.
By the turn of the millennium, a lot of allegedly “contemporary” music to their ears sounded squeaky-clean and soulless, marking back the worse aspects of the ’80s, and the fashion boat had sailed again with them overboard. Trained as teenagers watching streaky VHS tapes of The Stone Roses, clad in paisley shirts and jangly guitars, and later by Ride’s Mark Gardener, who lent the group his custom John Lennon Rickenbacker for tours to the USA, where they met the likes of Rob Campanella (of The Quarter After and Brian Jonestown Massacre). He lent them his 12-string Rickenbacker too (and he’s on board here producing The Hanging Stars in his LA studio).
After Goldrush called it a day and The Dreaming Spires were formed, brother Joe purchased his own 12-string guitar, in fact, two: a Rickenbacker and a Danelectro. He plays them on Co-pilgrim’s ‘Save the Queen Blazer’, and has been kind enough to lend them to his brother for their tracks on the album. “I really should get my own one of these days (maybe if enough of these records sell),” says Robin. “Three of our songs were recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, home of the equally-legendary Big Star. The other, ‘Silverlake Sky’ was written right on Sunset Strip, the heart of The Paisley Underground, and recorded here in Oxfordshire using a 60s Eko 12-string acoustic. Jamie Dawson played drums on our four songs before upping sticks permanently to California himself – and who are we to blame him? The final track on this record is ‘Arrows’ by The Raving Beauties, a fictional band echoing the ’60s era, but created in 21st century Brighton for a book, and now a real live group: with the right amount of jangle, you can cross between decades and between fiction and reality, discord and harmony. Strike the right chord and the sun will shine, even in rainy grey England. “Love will shine on you, if you want it to.”
Paisley Overground is released on 12 Inch Vinyl on June 10th