Macca’s project with Youth readies third album

Clash was invited down to the hallowed halls of Abbey Road Studios in North London last night to hear ‘Electric Arguments’, the exclusive preview of the new collaboration between ex-Beatle McCartney and uber producer and ex-Killing Joke, Youth.

The pair work together under the moniker The Fireman, and allows each to experiment outwith the boundaries of each artist’s expectations. Previous albums have seen the pair dabble in ambient, dance and electronic spheres, but for their latest long player, have decided to stick to a more traditional song based structure - which has its own fair share of experimentation.

Although masterly cohesive throughout, each track on ‘Electric Arguments’ was created in a single day throughout last year, and has its
own unique sound quite apart from anything else on the record. For example, opener ‘Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight' is a scratchy screechy bluesy wail, ‘Sing The Changes’ is a U2/Arcade Fire epic mountain song, ‘Light From Your Lighthouse' extols a slight country melody with a sprightly acoustic singalong, ‘Is This Love’ starts with pan pipes (yes, pan pipes!) and breezes through a sprinkle of chimes and rolling bass lines into a dreamy ambient landscape, ‘Lovers In A Dream’ sounds like a dozen tape loops bound with a pulsing beat and pensive chanting, and ‘Universal Here, Everlasting Now’ starts with a haunting classical piano line before going all New Order on our ass.

The aim of this latest collaboration, McCartney revealed, was to start with no plan or clear direction to take, and see where it goes. “The process was to throw everything at Youth and have fun with it,” Paul said as he arrived back in the studio so synonymous with his past. Everything was improvised, it appears, even the lyrics, for which Paul often adopted William Burroughs’ cut-up technique of chopping up lines and picking at random what to us. “Having written so much over the years you know what’s good,” he says of the chosen lyrics, which the producer would then encourage the singer to sing, as well as make it up as he went along. “I’d say to the guys this could be the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done!”

“I still don’t know the lyrics!” Macca laughed.

The album is a distinct result of the two individuals’ talents and idiosyncracies, and is all the better for the total trust placed on each
other. “What I like about working with Youth,” Paul reveals, “is that I trust his judgement. He made it very simple.”

Clash was spellbound by the album when confronted with it booming out of Abbey Road’s superior speakers. It might appear that McCartney has taken personally the questions on his modern relevance when interviewed by Clash last year, as he’s put together a staggering collection of timeless adventures that touch on the best aspects of today’s more leftfield sounds. Left without the constraints of a label’s demands or public expectations, Macca has delivered a unique insight into his artistic wont, an enlightening joy that could be the best thing he’s done in years.

‘Electric Arguments’ is released on 24th November. Tracklisting is as follows:

1. Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight
2. Two Magpies
3. Sing The Changes
4. Travelling Light
5. Highway
6. Light From Your Lighthouse
7. Sun Is Shining
8. Dance 'Til We’re High
9. Lifelong Passion
10. Is This Love?
11. Lovers In A Dream
12. Universal Here, Everlasting Now
13. Don’t Stop Running

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