Read a track by track guide to Peggy Sue’s debut album ‘Fossils And Other Phantoms’ by the band’s Katy and Rosa.
You can listen to the album, in full, before is UK release on 5th April on ClashMusic.com HERE and read our review of the album “>HERE.
‘Long Division Blues’
Katy: The most part of the album was recorded in Brooklyn, New York in spring of last year. We had been writing and practising in various living rooms for the best part of six months without really knowing how or where we would be recording an album. Some of the songs, for us, are completely about the lyrics or the guitar part or the room they were written in but Long Division Blues is very much about the recording. I remember playing the guitar along with Olly’s drums really loud, with enormous headphones on in this beautiful studio that overlooked the Manhattan skyline and really feeling like we were making an album for the first time.
Rosa: This was the last song we finished before we left for New York, and the first song we recorded when we arrived. I remember finishing it and feeling like it had completed the list of possible songs for the album, which we’d written, scribbled out and re-written a hundred times. Of course we ended up writing more in New York, but it felt like such a relief. I think this is the hardest song to explain because in many ways it’s so simple. It’s about time moving; It’s about a desire to reject, and it’s about believing in nothing apart from the body you exist in.
‘I Read It In The Paper’
Katy: I read it in the paper was written in January last year. I found myself surrounded by this enormous historical event that was being reported all over the media and I was aware of feeling frustrated by everything being exactly the same in my life. It reminded me of when the clocks go back and it feels like there should have been this monumental shift but its just that some numbers are different. The song is about that but its also just a straight forward break up song.
‘Green Grow The Rushes’
Rosa: Green Grow the Rushes is a song about accepting endings. It’s inspired by the traditional counting song Green grow the rushes oh. When I was little I loved the songs slow subtraction down to one. The traditional ‘one’ is probably God. For me the one is yourself. It’s about accepting aloneness. Bodies and relationships disintegrate; It’s about being proud of piecing yourself back together again; It’s about letting people go.
Katy: This was one of three songs written whilst we were in the studio in Brooklyn and recorded a few months later when we returned to London. The beginning part of the writing process is always quite an insular thing for us. You find yourself an empty room and then that’s all you can do until its written. We were recording and living in quite small spaces so it was quite intense and writing new songs was in some ways an excuse for some private time. Lyrically, it’s about how there is always a boy who is looking at a girl who is looking at a different boy. Sometimes we play it and I’m the person looking and sometimes I’m the person being looked upon.
Rosa: This song was written in between recording takes, looking out at New York across the east river. I remember feeling completely at peace and then receiving a phone call from England. I had just begun my day and I was speaking to someone who had just finished theirs. I suddenly had such a jolt of displacement I panicked. Lyrically it’s about the sense of belonging you feel for a place, or to a relationship, and how you choose to commit yourself to one over another, when essentially they’re probably similar. There are three different characters in the song – I’d say it’s about the middle. We recorded it live with Steve Ansell from Blood Red Shoes (alongside Watchman), standing in three different rooms in a studio in Brighton, and it ended up being the final song to go on the album.
‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’
Katy: Careless talk costs lives is one of the songs that are very much about the lyrics. I think I must have been listening to a lot of Jeffrey Lewis or something when I wrote it – it’s the closest I’ve ever come to an anti-folk song. Its about awkward silences, the ambiguity of words and conversations I was having with someone that I shouldn’t really have been having. Its probably the only song I’ve ever written that has a happy ending.
Rosa: I used to think the mood behind the lyrics in a song were pretty self evident, but me Katy and Olly have now had so many disagreements about the mood of a song I’ve changed my mind. I think often you can write a song and only realise all that it’s about afterwards. I think this is a song about love. Maybe it’s a reluctant love song, or a love song to patience. When I was sad I thought it was happy; now I’m happy I can see it’s sad. I know it’s about trying to make things better, but it’s also about trying to stick something out.
Katy: This is the oldest song on the album. It had been written a couple of years ago whilst we were still living in Brighton but there were only two verses and so it remained unfinished. The problem was that the few lines it had in it’s first incarnation said all I wanted it to say. I liked the fact that you could guess what it was about but that it wasn’t spelled out for you. Any more words I added just took away the subtlety of it. We played it again when Olly joined the band and realised we could complete it without having to add more words. It’s probably the longest instrumental section we’ve ever written and it’s only about 30 seconds.
Rosa: This song is about an argument in February last year when snow covered London, and everything was brought to a standstill. I felt so trapped by things I couldn’t find the words to say. Everything had this blank universal covering but as it melted what had always been underneath was revealed again as contradictory and different. It’s about words and feelings changing, and losing there meaning after you’ve gone through everything so many times you’ve picked them apart. It was written in New York. Olly actually wrote the drum beat in the live room whilst I was hiding away playing in another room unaware he could hear me. We ended up recording it in London with Ben from Mumford and Sons.
This song is about wanting to help someone, but also about giving up for your own good. It’s about watching something die. It’s about what remains. It’s about the dents left in pillows, and the hair left in a brush, and wishing you could have behaved differently.
‘The Shape We Made’
Katy: This is a post break-up love song. I’d spent such a long time writing break up songs whilst I was still in a relationship that when it ended all I could write were love songs. Olly plays banjo on it. It is a song about making a space for someone new but then not being able to fill it and it’s about being able to love someone again once you are not theirs anymore. But mostly its about spooning. The album is a pretty melancholy affair and although this is a sad song it’s both mourning and celebrating my relationship that ended just before we made the album. The ending is a pretty pretentious homage to the end of one of our favourite albums. Ten points to anyone who knows what it is.