Left With Pictures have impressed me greatly with their recently released album ‘Afterlife’ (Organ Grinder Records). Orchestral pop, cinematic – whatever the musical handle this is a moving and damn fine album. Certainly worthy of your time to investigate further and here Stuart Barter answers a few questions:
Have you been pleased with the reception to ‘Afterlife’ so far?
Definitely. It’s nerve wracking when you put anything out, especially something you’ve worked on for almost five years. Pretty much all the reviews and responses have been very positive. Line of Best Fit wrote “these guys could be huge pop stars if they so desired”, which is 100% not true, but quite flattering.
Was it intentional for ‘Afterlife’ to have a theme running through all the songs? How does the band go about creating those intense, yet very accessible musical and vocal parts?
It wasn’t intentional at the outset, but once we realised themes of death, endings and renewal were emerging in the songs, it certainly influenced the way we proceeded from there. I think if our music is accessible, that comes back to our love of pop music. As much as we love complex, difficult 20th Century Classical Music, we’d probably choose to listen to Help Me Rhonda instead, nine times out of ten.
Are there any plans for live shows and when you perform live how easy/hard is it to recreate the music/vocals mood in a live environment?
We have a couple of London dates coming up. 24th June at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden, and 2nd July, Daylight Music at The Union Chapel. We’d love to play more outside London, but for various reasons we’ve only been out a few times. It’s quite hard to reproduce what we do in the studio live, to be honest. We’re trying to strike a balance between exactly recreating certain sounds, and re-interpreting others. It feels like we’re almost there now, though…
How would you describe the music of Left With Pictures to a new listener?
When people ask, I always say that it’s Orchestral Pop, but that’s as much to make it easy for me as it is an accurate description of what we sound like. A couple of our reviews have said they felt that ‘orchestral pop’ is a limiting tag – which I can understand because we also use electronics, folk guitar parts, and more conventional drums-bass-guitar setups. I guess it’s orchestral in that we use whatever timbre and instrumentation suits the song, and aren’t wedded to any particular line-up. The word I like best to describe Afterlife is ‘cinematic’.
Message for your fans and anything else to add… (please do plug music, links etc.)
You can hear the record on Spotify, but if you like it, do head to our website and buy a physical copy! This is the first album we’ve released on vinyl as well as CD, which is exciting. Go on, it’ll look lovely on your shelf…. http://www.leftwithpictures.com