Track by track guide...

Parting company with their record label, things looked bleak for The Boxer Rebellion.

Struggling to survive without support, the band began demoing material for their second album. Listening back to the track, The Boxer Rebellion felt inspired enough to go it alone - opting to self-release the material.

Rejecting the traditional label structure, 'Union' sounded like it could fill stadiums despite the fact that the band couldn't afford a physical release. A remarkable comeback, it turned The Boxer Rebellion into one of the biggest groups in the country as they challenged Kings Of Leon at the top of the download charts.

A true word of mouth success story, follow up 'The Cold Still' doesn't quite have the same redemptive edge as 'Union'. However it will delight fans and finds the band at ease, working together in the studio without the immense pressure which surrounded their previous album.

Out now, 'The Cold Still' is the sort of album the record industry would deny exists. The Boxer Rebellion have risen to every challenge and beaten them all. Sitting down to write a few words for ClashMusic, the band described the making of 'The Cold Still'...

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No Harm
We wrote this song rather quickly at the end of a rehearsal. We tend to spend hours and hours sitting around waiting for ideas to form out of thin air and eventually, if we're lucky, a song like 'No Harm' will come along. Recording the song was a little tricky and at first I really wondered if we could make it work. We ended up stripping down the song and building it back up based around a live drum loop. The song itself is about a relationship that isn't really working out. I imagined it being about a veteran returning home to find that he'll never be the same - almost vacant. "Maybe there's no harm in you, so watch what you see, there's a beast that's in me". It's probably my favourite song on the album.

Step Out Of The Car
We came up with this idea of a rogue cop being chased by his own department. I'm quite positive no one would ever get that story from the lyrics, but the whole idea spawned off the title. The guy is hearing voices in his head and I suppose feels victimised in life - "Rumours of corruption. Acts of desperation leave you in mess. Voices winning me instead, undercover in my head". We never try to write singles, but this song jumped out as one as soon as we'd finished it. It also gives the record some balance.

Locked In The Basement
The rest of the guys were away for a few days after our tour in Australia and Japan so I tried to do some writing in our rehearsal room. I believe this is the only thing that made the cut. I started singing "I will lock you down" over and over and we eventually fleshed it out into a song about kidnapping (As I'm writing this I've had a little laugh to myself as I didn't realise how dark our subject matter seems to be). It's also about control over another with the "life is never yours to make it" line coming to mind.

Cause For Alarm
This is really about looking after yourself first and foremost. You can always try to please others, but sometimes it's just good to please yourself. I was thinking about someone getting bullied, nothing specific, but unable to speak about it. "A cornered tongue can never speak, the empty threats that scratch your cheek. Tattooed on in crimson red, the velvet bruise beneath this head." I think everyone's been in a situation of pressure and deciding whether or not to give in to it. "Offer up another limb, one to make it alright. Nothing you can do for them, only with your own life."

Caught By The Light
This is one of the most chilled out songs we've ever done. It reminds me of Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross". It's a song about dying, but in a peaceful sense. Being surrounded by loved ones and drifting away. I had the idea of having an out of body experience and seeing yourself in a hospital bed, "Drifting away with one final breath. The further you climb, a calm silhouette. And time leaves you alone." I've been in the situation as the family member, gathered around, and while it's sad it was also quite peaceful. I hope that comes across - the loss of suffering, the stoppage of time - "Far from world ailing to live. Far from the wreckage you were left with."

Organ Song
As 'Caught By The Light' is very much about The End, 'Organ Song' is about rebirth. I think I've shouted about it before, but I'm really into many a TV series: Dexter, Breaking Bad, The Wire, etc. For some reason or another Mad Men inspired the lyrics to this song. I took the idea from Don Draper's story of stealing the identity of a World War II victim in order to change his own life. "There is nothing in between, born unraveled at the seams. Lost where other seems to be. The first horizon wakes with me underneath." Sometimes names just stick because they've been called the same thing for far too long. 'Organ Song' suffered somewhat from that fate - "Can we play the one that starts with the organ?"

We wrote this song in Melbourne, completely skipping a snowy England, and enjoying constant sunshine. We had a few days to write and we found a little place called The Bakehouse. When I recorded a very rough demo on my phone it automatically saved, as it does with everything, as 'Memo' - hence the earth-shattering name! The lyrics are about having to listen to constant, uninspiring drivel - not music, but chatter - when someone is on a soapbox and/or drunk. "Keep drinking on your own, to love, for love and love alone." I suppose it's born out of the frustration of trying to reason with someone who is unable to reason - "You say nothing if you say at all. I'm not listening to you".

Both Sides Are Even
This was the first song written for the album and the song that really made us want to work with Ethan Johns. We'd recorded a demo for the this song the same way we'd worked on 'Union' and it felt like we were rehashing old ground. We needed a second opinion. The song is about a relationship tug-of-war - about two people at loggerheads and unable to move forward. It's the age old idea that in a relationship there always needs to be a bit of give and take or each person will end up waving their flag alone. "Both sides are even, they are even and alone. It's the same thing right or wrong."

The Runner
This was the last song written for the album and the only thing we wrote at Real World. We had about a week left and we came to the conclusion that for the sake of album flow we needed another uptempo song. I think on some occasions we surprise ourselves and actually surpass our own expectations because we wrote, recorded and mixed this song within a day. It's about someone who is tired of being lied to and is basically saying "enough is enough". It's not about feeding, but handing the helpless over to the wolves to face their own consequences - "Dear friend they'll destroy you, but it ain't nothing to me".

This is about reflection on life. I had the idea of some people in the woods caught inside a cabin during a fire, unable to escape. It's the idea that if you know you’re about to die, would you be happy with how you'd lived - "Doubt there's doubt, what you celebrate, the errors from here, from the errors you made. Doubt there's doubt to love as you should, the trouble with time that you did all you could". The title of the album comes from the lyrics of 'Doubt' - we simply shortened the phrase "the cold still of night", which is, in essence supposed to convey more of a feeling rather than anything literal. Though the song is seemingly dark (and for the record, I love it when people form their own ideas of what a song is about) I like to take the stance that sometimes doubting what's going to happen in the future can also give hope, and doubting what has already passed can help one learn from his mistakes.

'The Cold Still' is out now

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