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Spray – Photo Credit: Phil Fletcher
Today is the day for electronic music goodness and here to spread the good news is a UK-based duo called Spray. No stranger to fans of synthpop and synthwave, this duo’s new offerings seem to somewhat widen their spectrum a bit. Take the track we present to you today for instance – here on ‘Hammered in An Airport’ we have something edgy within a fruitful sonic territory somewhere between acid-house and techno. Guru Josh has nothing on Spray.
As the band gear up to release a new album, titled ‘Ambiguous Poems About Death’ (coming November 26 via Manchester’s Analogue Trash label), we are chuffed to present you all the lead track. ‘Hammered In An Airport’ is a fantastically catchy and grooving witty club anthem for those who are unable to travel, but desperately wish to. Likely recorded before the current pandemic, perhaps this song wasn’t meant to come across like this, but my oh my, isn’t the timing just perfect in terms of embodying such a meaning. This would’ve been a right club-hopping chart-topping tune in the 90s heyday of acid house. Whatever you want to call it and however you may want to label them, one thing is certain – this music has sprung from two brilliant minds, vibing this planet away from the dour society we’ve more or less become over the past few years.
Spray is a duo consisting of brother and sister Ricardo Autobahn (synths) and Jenny McLaren (vocals, guitars). Since forming 19 years ago, they have managed to develop a unique brand of danceable and subversive indie disco pop, often with tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Debuting with the album ‘Living In Neon’ LP album, they’ve had many releases since, including a smash hit cover of Lisa Lougheed’s ‘Run With Us’ (also known as ‘The Raccoons theme song).
But these two didn’t just appear out of thin air. Both were part of The Cuban Boys, who made quite a name for themselves in the UK especially. Having recorded one of the best Peel Sessions ever, they went head-to-head with Sir Cliff Richard in a Christmas Chart Battle. Their hit single ‘Cognoscenti Vs Intelligentsia’ (a.k.a. The Hamster Dance Song) sold a million copies, reached number 4 in the UK single charts, landed them on Top of the Pops and, in the words of John Peel, was “the most requested song I’ve had since God Save The Queen”.” They also topped the John Peel Festive 50 Charts twice – no small feat, that is.
Spray was the secret weapon behind the UK’s 2006 Eurovision hit ‘Teenage Life’, written and produced with Daz Sampson, with their treated vocals used on the track. Ricardo Autobahn and Sampson’s dance version of ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ (as Rikki and Daz) with the legendary Glen Campbell went Top 10. More recently Spray recorded music with anarchic BBC star Hacker T. Dog and Ricardo also plays keyboards with Welsh punk pop icons Helen Love.
Spray is again ready to entertain us with their new long-player – their second with Analogue Track, following 2019’s ‘Failure Is Inevitable’. Jenny and Ricardo have used the intervening time wisely; writing, terrorizing social media, working with puppets, and a number of live shows, including August’s first post lockdown live affair in Liverpool.
“In early 2020 we bought a Behringer TD-3, one of the company’s excellent Roland TB-303 knockoffs. We had an idea of putting out a quick acid house-style album in the summer, something short, spiky and electropunk. This did not come to fruition as like many, Spray found themselves locked down in separate locations, in their case on either side of Lancashire,” says Ricardo Autobahn.
“This album evolved into something a lot more elaborate as the pandemic went on. We tried not to write songs about the global situation because we figured everybody would be doing that, but the outside world couldn’t help seeping in.”
Undeterred by distance, recording and production duties were split between Spray Studio 1 (decaying, seen better days) and Spray Studio 2 (shiny, newly refurbished, sweet smelling) and the album took shape with the TD-3 employed in all the songs, somewhere.
Earlier this year, Spray released the single ‘Félicette (Space Cat)’, which is the second track on the forthcoming long-player “I bought wine that had cats in space suits on the front, as this is pretty much how I choose my wine. On reading the back of the wine bottle I discovered Félicette, who, in 1963, became the first (and only) cat who went into space and had been pretty much forgotten about in the history of space travel,” explains Jenny McLaren.
Packed full of acerbic wit with tongue firmly in cheek when needed for maximum effect, ‘Ambiguous Poems About Death’ will delight fans new and old from the first listen. The long-player will be released on November 26 digitally and on CD, the latter format featuring separate blue cover artwork). It can be pre-ordered HERE.
Composed, performed and produced by Spray
Performed by Jenny McLaren and Ricardo Autobahn
Music engineered at Spray Studio 1 (Lancashire)
Vocals engineered at Spray Studio 2 (Liverpool)
Additional vocals by Terri McDonald and Phil Fletcher
Mixed by Morgan Lorentz
Published by Copyright Control/23rd Precinct Music Ltd
I’m sure you’re curious about the video for the aforementioned Space Cat single, so knock yourself out: