Release Date: 26 February 2016
Format: LP Vinyl
|Sennen First Light Limited Vinyl LP
Mastered by Sonic Boom (aka Peter Kember of Spacemen 3/Spectrum) First Light is Sennen’s fifth album in a career that began back in 2002. First Light occupies its own universe ; a strange hinterland that exists between opposites - consciousness and sleep, certainty and uncertainty, instinct and intuition, guitar-based rock music and something altogether more ethereal and nebulous.
Sennen have always revelled in their outsider status, forever forging forwards with new ideas, never aligned to any one scene, perenially suspicious of the shoegaze / post-rock tags pinned to them (stargaze might be a more apt term). While their acclaimed 2005 debut album Widows certainly showed an affinity with such aural architects as Explosions In The Sky and Godspeed You Black Emperor, their inability to remain static has ensured a back catalogue containing an embarrasment of riches. Where The Light Gets In (2008) was built on a seamless cross pollinating of styles – sweeping strings here, stirring pianos there – while Age Of Denial (2010) saw the dual harmonies of Laurence Holmes and Rich Kelleway defining Sennen’s sound. Lost Harmony (2012) meanwhile was observational, reflective and self-critical and showed both Americana and kosmiche influences, as well as dipping into joyous synth-pop
With members now based in London and Nottingham, First Light was born out of a return to the source: making music because it is a life force. Art for art’s sake. It came after a crisis of confidence of sorts. “After our last album, the idea of being in a band beyond your twenties suddenly seemed a ridiculous and indulgent thing to do,” explains singer/guitarist Laurence Holmes. “Life is full of distractions that can make you complacent and we found ourselves asking why do we make music? Should we continue? Isn’t there more to life? Somehow though we were drawn back to this rehearsal room to have these sessions, improvising insane half hour-long songs. None of it was Sennen – and that was a good thing. The plan was: no plan. What we learnt was that we need music as much as ever.”
Around this time all four band members read Michael Azerrad’s 80s alt-rock history Our Band Could Be Your Life and recognized within its stories the same struggles that any band faces today. “Though we’re not remotely a hardcore band, we found ourselves hugely inspired by that do-it-yourself energy and willful individualism of those outsiders,” says Holmes. “So the first song on our new album is eight minutes long, the first single is seven minutes, the biggest pop song on there doesn’t even have a chorus – all of the things that made us lose our way could suddenly be viewed as strengths. It was liberating. We made music entirely on our terms. We made the soundtrack for our lives.”
Though inspired by the luminaries of first-wave shoegaze and post-rock (they took their name from a Ride song – itself from the rugged Cornish cove), Sennen prefer textures to bombast, subtle shifts to grand gestures. Honeyed harmonies over an arsenal of pedals. They create music of a discinctly melodic and pop-infatuated bent – The Carpenters were cited as a primary influence on 2012’s Lost Harmony – that is progressive in its reshaping of sound.
1. First Light
2. Still Dark
4. Silence to Me
5. Infrared 1
6. The Pilot
7. Into Nothing
8. Walk With Me
9. Infrared 2