There’s a lot of musical ground covered on Cupid In Error, the new album from UK four piece Great Pagans, but throughout its 11 tracks the band maintains a consistent mood. It’s a gauzy, besotted tone that spreads through the jaunty, jangle-wash of “Tangled Up In Chemistry”, through spikier post-punk drive of “Silver Tongue”, and “The Life You Wanted.” Think Belle and Sebastian slipping a few Bloc Party tracks into their set.
Perhaps that makes sense given that the band took their name from Dante’s Inferno, as woebegone a tale as has ever been told.
Songwriter Alex Painter and company walked us through the album track by track. Find more from the band here.
I’m certainly not the first to experience or write about a life-changing break up but the album became a loosely chronological document of emerging from that kind of experience. “December” is broadly a song about ill-placed defiance, the beginning of the end.
A fond farewell. I think you can tell we recorded the drums in a church on this song. Dave (Tindale – who recorded, mixed, co-produced and drummed on the album) and I half froze to death in the process but I’m really happy with the sound we ended up with.
I wanted to keep this one as condensed as possible, using only a few elements. It’s up to the listener whether to choose the more sarcastic tone or take it as an honest platitude. The song seems to sound alternately positive and melancholy each time we play it.
“Tangled Up In Chemistry”
Figuring out who you are all over again when you have the freedom to mess up.
A cathartic fuck you. I began trying to invoke the spirit of Steve Albini and the Pixies but I think it took a side turn at some point. I love playing it live. It’s nice to thrash away after all the understatement.
“The Life You Wanted”
A cousin of “Silver Tongue,” this was another outlet for unvented venom. Again, the sarcasm lies heavy. The second half slowly morphs into a bit of a Glenn Branca wall of guitars. And I plundered the bass line from a short-lived hardcore side project.
“Just Like My Father”
This song is kind of a blurry slow dance for the end of the night. I would die happy if it ever found its way into David Lynch’s hands.
More introspection! This time with the benefit of hindsight and a big stomping chorus. One of the tougher ones to finish, it was hard to keep it from getting too epic.
A sultry, neon, late-night lullaby. Again, this one owes a debt to Angelo Badalamenti, with a respectful nod to Blade Runner/Vangelis and Brian Eno.
The daunting prospect of starting all over again interspersed with a dose of Sonic Youth-esque rumbling. I really like songs that are melodic but have no obvious chorus, something I aimed for here as well as with So Pure.
Beginning to see the light. I originally wrote this for a short film on a similar subject made by one of my best friends. Warm, dreamy haze to end the album on a positive note.