The Best is Yet to Come – Track by Track #1

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At this time music feels even more disposable, throw away in the culture of single streams on Spotify or sections of songs on Tik Toks. We hark back to the times of sleeve notes on albums and the magic of knowing more about the creation of music. To this ends we wanted to capture this by revisiting a stalwart of older music press; Track by Track.

We were delighted to catch up with Lucid Liars’ Rikki Mackenzie ahead of their second album ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ to get under the skin of their latest tracks.

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Anodyne

The song was a late contender for opening the album. We’d previously released a different mix as a single and it always goes down well live, so we re-arranged elements of it to better work as an opener.

The story of the song details poisonous relationships and the numbing that happens as you become more used to what’s happening to you. It was one of the first Lucid Liars songs to make extensive use of modulated reverb. We couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our second album.

Eyes on You

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This is another song released as a single on streaming platforms last year, we polished it up a bit and worked on the arrangement to better fit it in to the context of the album. The song details my own love/hate relationship with touring and the complexities of band life.

I remember trying to find the right synth sound for intro and ended up stumbling upon a bitcrushed delay that added rhythmic depth to the piano and then the track just clicked. The outro section is one of my favourite things to do live in Lucid Liars.

The Best is Yet to Come / Chinese Whispers

One of the first songs we worked on for the project, it stems from a demo around 9 years ago between Craig and I. It was much more organ based back then, I actually managed to salvage the old organ track and retrofit it in to the new track which I felt was important in telling the songs story of time passing and keeping optimism.

The outro was missing something so we got some brass arrangement to accompany the electric guitar in the climax and before we knew it the song was done.

I had been listening to a lot of 90s indie rock and liked the idea of a bonus track within the tracklisting itself

There’s a short instrumental at the end which I recorded on piano around 2am in 2016, I had been listening to a lot of 90s indie rock and liked the idea of a bonus track within the tracklisting itself, so it’s thrown at the end there. One of my favourite on the album.

BEP

A song we have a bit of fun with live. Not to break kayfabe but I’ve given out maybe 9 different explanations of what the acronym stands for and not a single one is true! Recording BEP was a bit like trying to get through a brick wall with your head, we just kept going at it until it went down but probably could have been easier.

I remember sitting down with Jack to record the drums and we were trying to comp together a track before realising that the best performance would come if he just felt the groove and jammed it out. Eventually he did it in one long take with bits and pieces of improvisation and the rest of the track came together very well.

Over the Arctic

as a mid album track “Over the Arctic” is definitely an earworm

Another song I had wanted to record for a very long time. The first go of this was going to open the album, and was around 6-7 minutes long with a long intro, dramatic cello and all kinds of sampling. We couldn’t get it to work so decided to rethink it.

The version on the album is cut down to the 3 core parts without any of the more ethereal elements of the first mix. What we have here is all the sampling, strings, bass solo (probably the only one we’ll ever do!) and vocal layering from a 6-7 minute song condensed to a very dense 3 minutes. Maybe the original mix will see release one day as a curio, but as a mid album track “Over the Arctic” is definitely an earworm.

300 Bones

A short instrumental building on the leitmotif of the album that was initially part of the introduction to “Am I Haunting You?”. As the album’s identity came together it started to become obvious that pacing was proving to be an issue.

I’ve never been a fan of albums that are more like a collection of songs with no flow, I like everything to flow in to one another. So the intro was reworked in to “300 Bones” as a bridge between the lush strings of “Over the Arctic” and the quiet and vulnerability of the next track. It’s the first Lucid Liars track to use a Fender Bass VI and probably not the last.

A Place for Everything and Everything in it’s Place

This song was initially just a demo in the hopes that we would record it with the full band. As we begun to experiment more with tape delay and bussing things through different effects pedals, this song was a contender for building that soundscape over.

The track has a lot of time stretched pianos and strings layered in the background that build to a climax as the acoustic guitars cut out, one of the very few Lucid Liars songs where we chose to build upon the demo instead of recording it properly.

Better Days

A rework of our 2021 single. What we have here is a band throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. Layered viola, drum loops, rhodes piano, vocoders, ukulele, bitcrushed guitars, analogue fuzz, choirs, dense vocal layering…if we thought of it at the time, it’s in here.

Big shout out to our friend Tomás (@_ostrol_) for taking all these elements and making them sit together cohesively with his fantastic stem mastering of the album. Having an absolute blast playing this live and listening to people singing along with the hook is incredible.

Everything You Want

A short track consisting of dense vocal layering and acoustic guitar. Initially we were writing this to be a longer track but in the end everything we wanted was in there and it’s a catchy intermission to keep the album flowing onwards. I distinctly remember my Space Echo not liking this track as it just wouldn’t record the output in to our mixing software, but it would happily do it for every other session that day. Something weird was happening there.

Am I Haunting You?

A song about difficult family members and one of the songs that wasn’t quite ready for our last album, “Happy to be Here”. In hindsight I’m glad we let the track sit for a while because the end result is something special. It’s split in to 3 parts with a lot of heavy sampling and subtle keys, but also some rockier moments. The second part is probably the closest Lucid Liars will come to pop rock and we do it unashamedly.

Grey

A song about the inevitability of aging and settling down. The cacophony at the end of this track was something I spent a long time trying to pin down. We didnt have time to record a drum part for this so it was recycled from an older Lucid Liars song.

I felt this played in to the outro section as the drums repeat in the same way but the guitars and viola gets louder and louder as the vocal is drowned out, definitely a special moment and one we’re looking forward to playing live.

Loop Closer

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A song about breaking out of the feedback loop of a bad relationship and letting things move on. The language is pretty literal as I was looking at the Space Echo while writing the lyrics, and the bridge section contains some of the most beautiful cello and piano arrangements we’ve ever put down. The song also features fretless bass by our good friend Matthew (@soundsofhampi) which delivers a meloncholic feeling to the whole track.

‘The Best is Yet to Come’ is released on the 21st of July and will be available via the normal streamers or pre-order on Bandcamp.

Catch up with all the Lucid Liars’ news via their website and see our previous coverage of the band here.

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Chris Lemon
Chris Lemon
A lifelong passion for music matched with a geeky fascination for social media and websites resulted in the creation of Inverness Gigs back in 2010. The aim of the site is to help promote, support and generally raise awareness of the local music scene.If you want get in touch you can contact me direct at invernessgigs@gmail.com

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