It's funny how people always resort to discussing the weather like it's this one thing we have universally in common because there are actually loads of other things that most of us have in common like say feet (sorry if you've got no feet), or bums (sorry if you don't have a bum) or paying your taxes (love you so much tax man 😘) and we don't talk about them all the time now do we? Still, it's nonetheless true to say: lovely weather we've been having recently isn't it (sorry if it's raining where you are). And what better way to invite yet further glorious warmth into your life than with a purchase of the excellent and excellent value (£8.99 introductory sale price!) new album by Randolph's Leap, titled Worryingly Okay?
The CD album – out-of-fashion formats ftw! – is out now, and features 10 brand new songs, each of them written and sung and recorded almost exclusively solo by the band's singer and general main man Adam Ross, because he's awfy talented like that. But wait there's more! The album also comes with an illustrated poster-map of Scotland inside designed by Peggy-May Chapple, detailing all the locations of inspiration for the songs with the lyrics to each on the other side. Which offers not only an at-a-glance guide to the record, but also presents a handy thing to keep in the glove box of your car for occasions such as when you get really angry with the satnav for wrongly guiding you up a beshittified farm track and so you smash it up in a pique of rage with a car jack in the middle of a field while cows look on questioningly. There's also a front cover illustration by David Galletly which is nice to look at.
But, look, if you want a more descriptive overview of the album, your best bet is to read this lovingly assembled TRACK-BY-TRACK account of it's ten songs, composed by the main man himself. You can have a handy listen to the album in full, in the wee audio player below, too ..
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO ... HERE IS SINGER / SONGWRITER ADAM ROSS’S GUIDE TO RANDOLPH’S LEAP’S REALLY-VERY-MUCH-BETTER-THAN-OKAY NEW ALBUM, WORRYINGLY OKAY
1. HIDE A THING
The oldest song on the album. I originally recorded the music without lyrics but was unhappy with it so deleted all trace from my laptop. Then I changed my mind and really regretted it. Luckily I found a version in an email I’d sent myself and built it back up from there. That’s one of my best anecdotes about responsible file management. I started writing this song in a cafe in St Abbs, picturing a guy who has moved to the coast, aimlessly spending his days sitting in seaside coffee shops, trying to recapture the magic of childhood holidays but slowly falling into loneliness and alcoholism. A nice feel good opener.
2. HOPING TO SEE
I recorded this one in a wee cottage in Gargunnock. In terms of lo-fi production values, it’s one of my favourite self- recorded tunes along with Black & Blue and The Nonsense In My Soul from previous albums. I’m pleased with the drum sound, the harmonica solo and the general 1970s country-rock kind of feel. Lyric-wise, it’s a (fictional) tale of infidelity with an optician.
This was meant to be a romantic song written for/about my wife (fiancée at the time) to make up for the previous song’s storyline. The gesture is somewhat ruined in the second verse with the inclusion of a toilet pun. The drums on this are recycled from an older Randolph’s Leap song but I’ll leave people to work out which one.
4. GEOPOLITICAL BLUES
Cutting edge social commentary right here. Mind your fingers – this one’s sharp! It features the most complicated bit of time signature experimentation in a Randolph’s Leap song, but that’s not really saying much.
5. TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME
This was one of those good days where an entire song came together in one go, on this occasion during a hillwalk in Glen Esk in Angus. It’s a bit of a funny area with miles of burnt heather and tweed and shotguns but there’s no phone signal so it’s a good place to collect thoughts and temporarily give your life the slip. The arrangement of two acoustic guitars was inspired by my love of Kath Bloom and early Sandy Denny.
This recording was initially longer and more instrument-heavy but I ended up chiselling away and discarding most of what I’d recorded to give the vocals more space. It ended up with taking on a reverby, dream-like style that I thought would work well as a halfway marker on the album. A bit of breathing space before the rock ‘n’ roll carnage of Lungs. There was a third verse for this one which ended up in the bin. It was the right decision although it did have a very obscure reference to Brian Blessed’s episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ so maybe it’ll be resurrected one day.
More recycled drums! This song has the word “piss” in it which has previously earned me an “explicit” warning on iTunes (and a healthy dose of street cred). It was written after hearing a politician being interviewed on the radio. I think I felt he was lacking a bit of integrity and seemed to be nailing his colours to a fairly shoogly mast. I can’t remember his name or what the issue was though. Maybe he was just one of those ones who start every sentence with the word “look...”. Absolutely insufferable.
8. KITCHEN CLEAN
This was recorded at the same time as Hoping To See and existed as an instrumental for a long time before lyrics came together. Hillwalking helped remedy that again. Another good snare drum tone, I think, and a chance for me to pretend I can play the electric guitar.
The story behind this one is fairly self-explanatory. A week spent in Mull in early March with a car that kept breaking down. The bit about the boulder crushing a house comes from W. H. Murray’s The Companion Guide to the West Highlands of Scotland which describes “last century a newly married couple came to one of the cottages on their wedding night. A storm broke at midnight, dislodging from the cliff a boulder weighing many thousands of tons. It fell straight on to the cottage, crushing it flat. The lovers were never seen again. You can see this enormous rock poised between the first two cottages on the left, with the old garden wall still standing round it.”
This song is about the problem of trying to compare your own happiness / mental wellbeing with that of other people. I was also thinking about old age. And television. Big shout out to inventor John Yogie Bear for making it all possible.