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Last week’s recording session didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped for, the atmosphere was pretty tense in the studio and at one point I was seriously tempted to call a cab to the nearest airport and spend the rest of my days meditating in Tibet. My biggest concern was that some of us were still trapped in “demo mode” rather than “album mode”. This attitude problem initially came across in the playing as rather than trying to craft something special, I had the impression that one of us in particular was content to simply play the right notes rather than be fully engaged in creating a work of art – musical jingles rather than musical masterpieces. I also had the impression that we were rushing things – not taking our time to make sure that everything was exactly as it should be. Nevertheless, after a few rows here and a few snide remarks there, we finally got the bass, drums and some rhythm guitars done and sounding good.

The moment has yet to arrive where we can start patting ourselves on the back for having bred, fed and brought up our little babies to the point where they are looking and sounding delightful, however, I’m sure that by this time next week, we will be listening to them with pride, joy and satisfaction through the speakers, and recognising that all the tension was worth it. I expect that the greatest contribution to some of the songs will be made by the legendary Steven Fawkes. Getting him to come over from Arizona is a huge coup which just goes to prove that in music, you should always aim high. With Steven taking over the responsibility for arranging the strings in his inimitable style that you can really hear best in songs by one of my favourite groups such as Eels, some of the slower songs will have a lushness to them that was maybe lacking on the first album. We’re not going to enter the studio with him like a pack of autograph hunters, but I’m certainly hoping that we can learn one or two things from him.