After a wait of six years, Bellshill band The Lonely Souls are back with their third studio album.
A follow-up to 2012’s Vital Signs, the self-titled album was recorded with producer Andy Miller at the Gargleblast Studios in Hamilton.
Andy has worked with the likes of Mogwai and The Delgados in the past and singer Paul Clinton said he brought a lot to The Lonely Souls sound.
“Andy is absolutely buzzing with ideas; some of them are a bit mad but they seem to work,” he said.
“For PTSD, he had the five of us in a room screaming and shouting. After he’d put it through a filter, it really does sound like a war zone.
“On Heart Like Mine there are slamming drawers and doors, which sounds a bit odd but, again, it works.
“The trick is to ensure it isn’t too over-produced so you can still play the songs live and I’m happy to report that I can still play everything on my acoustic guitar and they sound brilliant.”
There is a more 60s classic rock sound to the latest album, with even the equipment lending a hand.
Paul said: “I think we found with Vital Signs that it started off really high-tempo and then became a lot mellower so we wanted to do an album that had a better flow.
“There was a conscious decision that it should be a more complete journey this time around and a lot of credit has to go to my brother Mark (Clinton) as he writes the majority of the lyrics and music, enabling that to happen.
“I’ll take something he has written and try to put my own stamp on it. I’ll maybe sing it nine or ten times and we can discuss what works and what doesn’t but, at the heart of it, he has written some cracking tunes.
“There is definitely a much more 60s sound to the album. Of course, we have influences dating back to then and Andy even brought in mics from the 60s so I’m sure that all contributed.”
The album cost a lot in blood, sweat and tears to produce, as well as bass player Mark Thomson calling time on his involvement with the band, although Paul insists it was all amicable.
He said: “We’ve done maybe two or three gigs each year since the last album but basically all our time together has been spent in four walls trying to make the best album we could.
“Although it took a long time we are all still speaking to each other, there were no fallings out, it’s just that the life of an unsigned band is tough with trying to juggle it with work, family and everything else.
“Mark just felt he couldn’t do it anymore and we all understood, so we’ll carry on as a four piece.
“I’m still on vocals and guitar, Mark can play anything with four or six strings, Kieran McCusker has moved onto bass and Craig Wales is on the drums.”
The self-titled album is just 38 minutes long but, to coin a phrase, it is all killer, no filler.
Paul said: “I think just under 40 minutes for ten tracks is perfect. My favourite track is Run Rabbit Run which is a relentless two minutes 18 seconds.
“I think when you are doing five minute songs it’s just self-indulgent with long guitar solos or pedal work.
“Everything you want to say can usually be said in less than three minutes.”
The Lonely Souls have received praise from legendary Bellshill musician Duglas T Stewart of the BMX Bandits.
Duglas said: “To me, The Lonely Souls sound like they should be selling out the Barrowlands at least.
“I’m sure there’s a parallel universe where that’s a reality. If you like Classic Rock (with a capital R), from the 60s through to the present day, what they do might please you greatly.
“There’s a real development in their sound on these new cuts that could find them getting a lot more attention. I wish these Bellshill rockers well.”
Paul was delighted to find a fan in Duglas.
He said: “I actually used to deliver his paper when he still lived in Bellshill and I remember going to his door in my BMX Bandits T-shirt to get my ticket stub signed after a gig in Motherwell.
“He’s been a good friend to the band over the years and will do anything he can to help. He’s just that sort of guy and it’s pretty great having someone you are a fan of being a fan of yours.”
Paul promises that the next album won’t take another six years.
He added: “I guarantee it will come out a lot sooner. We already have two songs and Mark has written several more. We’re excited to get into the studio.”
Live dates lined up
The Lonely Souls is available now on iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby and the band’s website and they will be peforming their second gig of 2018 at the 13th Note in the Saltmarket area of Glasgow on Saturday.
Tickets, priced £5, are available from www.thelonelysouls.org and their Facebook page which can be found@eclecticrocktunesmiths.
It will be a rare chance to see a group who don’t often break cover, with just one more confirmed gig this year.
Paul said: “We do spend a lot of time in the studio but we like getting out there and showing people what we’ve been up to in a live setting every now and then.
“We are glad to be going back to 13th Note and we know we’ll definitely see out the year at Stereo on December 30.
“We are trying to arrange another gig in June but it isn’t finalised yet so we’ll just have to see what happens with that. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll just go back to the studio and work on the new stuff.
“We don’t have any festivals booked at this stage but if anyone is interested in having us then we’d be happy to take their call.
“In the meantime, we just need to see about hiring a van to get all our equipment into Glasgow on Saturday to ensure the gig at 13th Note actually goes ahead.”
If you are new to The Lonely Souls be sure to check out their first two albums, 2009’s Move Your Bones and 2012’s Vital Signs.
As unsignedbandsonline.com put it: “The Lonely Souls! What can be said about them! This has to be the most underestimated group of musicians I have seen to date.
“The charisma mixed in with presence and light-hearted playful attitude made for a fantastic set.”