Lost Horizons announce ‘In Quiet Moments’

Lost Horizons today announce news of their new album In Quiet Moments released via Bella Union and available to preorder here. The album features a stellar array of musical guests including John Grant, C Duncan, Marissa Nadler, Porridge Radio, Penelope Isles, Karen Peris (the innocence mission), Tim Smith (Midlake), Ren Harvieu and many more. The 16-track album will be released in two sections. The first half (8 tracks) will be released digitally 4th December with the second half and full physical release following on 26th February 2021. Lost Horizons have shared a video for first single “I Woke Up With An Open Heart”, directed by Blue Laybourne, which features The Hempolics.

https://youtu.be/tlbQyUO5QX0

In 2017, Simon Raymonde and Richie Thomas had both abstained from making music for 20 years until they united as Lost Horizons and released a stunning debut album, Ojalá – the Spanish word for “hopefully” or “God willing.” 

“These days, we need hope more than ever, for a better world.” Thomas said at the time. “And this album has given me a lot of hope. To reconnect with music…. And the hope for another Lost Horizons record!” 

Thomas’ hopes had a mixed response. On the plus side, the new Lost Horizons album In Quiet Moments is an even stronger successor to Ojalá with another distinguished cast of guest singers and a handful of supporting instrumentalists embellishing the core duo’s gorgeously free-flowing and loose-limbed blueprint that one writer astutely labelled, “melancholy-delia.” 

On the minus side, any hope for a better world, as Earth continues to freefall toward political and social meltdown. Then, to make matters worse, as Raymonde and Thomas buckled down to create the improvised bedrock that Lost Horizons is built on, the former’s mother died. At least Raymonde had a way to channel his grief. “The way improvisation works,” he says, “it’s just what’s going on with your body at the time, to let it out.” 

Raymonde (bass, guitar, keyboards, production) and Thomas (drums, occasional keys and guitar) forged ahead, creating 16 instrumental tracks to send to prospective guests. When he did, Raymonde suggested a guiding theme for their lyrics: “Death and rebirth. Of loved ones, of ideals, at an age when many artists that have inspired us are also dead, and the planet isn’t far behind. But I also said, ‘The most important part is to just do your own thing, and have fun.” 

And then Covid-19 hit. Half of In Quiet Moments’ lyrics were written after lockdown, but Raymonde saw a silver lining: people were slowing down and taking stock of their lives. Hearing a lyric written by veteran singer Ural Thomas, known as “Portland’s Pillar of Soul”, who fronts the title track, Raymonde singled out the phrase “in quiet moments” and made it the album title. “It just made sense,” he says. “This moment of contemplation in life is really beautiful. The title also went with the album cover, a photograph by Jacques-Henri Lartigue from the 1940s of a woman and dog on a beach, captured as if in flight.”

Lost Horizons’ melancholy-delia also feels buoyed aloft by airy currents, informed in part by Raymonde and Thomas’ former respective bands: the legendary Cocteau Twins and Dif Juz. Their former bands were labelmates on 4AD in the mid-80s, which is how they first met. 

In Quiet Moments has its pockets of loss but – aligned to the concept of ‘hope’ – the album is more about rebirth than death. “I think it’s more joyous than Ojalá,” says Thomas. “But both albums have a great energy about them.” 

Those energy levels undulate across a dazzling array of moods and voices; as broad as the name Lost Horizons sounds. Take the first three tracks: the melting rapture of ‘Halcyon’ featuring Jack Wolter of Bella Union signings Penelope Isles, the simmering urban-soulful ‘I Woke Up With An Open Heart’ featuring Nubiya Brandon of The Hempolics and the quintessentially melancholy-delic ‘Grey Tower’ featuring a returning Tim Smith . 

Also returning from Ojalá are Gemma Dunleavy, Karen Peris (the innocence mission), Cameron Neal (Horse Thief) and Marissa Nadler. The last three are all Bella Union family members; likewise, John Grant (the lush, choral ‘Cordelia’, etched by David Rothon’s pedal steel and Fiona Brice’s elegant strings) and Ren Harvieu (a sultry ‘Unravelling In Slow Motion’), and new signing Laura Groves (the jazz-tinged ‘Blue Soul’), all making their Lost Horizons debuts. 

Dana Margolin of the hugely acclaimed Porridge Radio lends the rampant ‘One For Regret’’ her trademark bristling energy; at the other end of the spectrum, ‘Flutter’ features Rosie Blair (of former Bella Union signing Ballet School) adding exquisite blue notes to a stark palate of Thomas’ piano and Fiona Brice’s strings. Deploying his A&R acumen, Raymonde called on new Swedish discovery Kavi Kwai for the Cocteaus-evoking ‘Every Beat That Passed’ (“You can’t make music for as long as I have and drop all your influences and habits overnight,” says Raymonde). Also present are Lily Wolter (of Penelope Isles) under her solo pseudonym KookieLou, and C Duncan. A richer and more varied cast list would be very hard to find. 

“I think In Quiet Moments is more in the direction of where we’re going,” Thomas concludes. “People have retreated into their lives and, in those quiet moments, reflected on the world, how we fit in and who we trust. Maybe the next album will be about rebellion! But the road is long and winding. We just need to express ourselves in how we feel at the time.”

In Quiet Moments will be released 26th February via Bella Union and is available to order HERE.

Ren Harvieu shares new viedo + B-side single

Following across-the-board rave reviews for her new album Revel In The Drama, released in April via Bella Union, Ren Harvieu has shared a b/w video for new single “This Is How You Make Me Feel”, directed by her musical partner Romeo Stodart.

Of the track and video Harvieu says: “This is How You Make Me Feel was recorded during a steamy, hot summer, a feeling we wanted to capture in the song and the recording. It’s all about the beginnings of new love where it all feels so new and exciting. I wanted it to sound like really late night / early morning with the sun coming up after a beautiful night of sexual awakenings. The video was filmed from my bedroom during lockdown.”

Additionally, Harvieu has shared a brand new track, “Revel In The Drama”, which is the B-side to the single and also the title of her album, despite not being included on the LP. 

Of the track Harvieu adds: “Revel In The Drama was inspired by the beautiful Japanese actress and singer Yoshiko Yamaguchi, who was best known as Li Xiang Lan, and seen as one of the great pop divas of 1930’s & 40’s Shanghai pop. I sampled her song Tuberose and wanted to create a new world of colour and enchantment. ‘I am real, as real as fantasy’”.

Ren also recently announced news of her rescheduled Spring UK tour, with all the shows moving to November and December… Dates/info can be found here.

Ren Harvieu announces rescheduled UK tour

Following across-the-board rave reviews for her new album Revel In The Drama, released this week via Bella Union, Ren Harvieu has announced news of her rescheduled Spring UK tour, with all the shows moving to November and December. See below poster for full dates…

Ciritical acclaim for Ren Harvieu’s Revel In The Drama…

“A record that propels Harvieu back under the spotlight as a grown-up pop force with weaponised survival instincts… The music gleams with a steely determination to be heard… Golden-age glamour, neon-smeared Hollywood strings and propane-fuelled torch songs… The stars, finally, seem to be right where she wants them.” MOJO – 4 stars ****

“A triumphant return… Collaborator Romeo Stodart of The Magic Numbers has helped to free the singer’s creativity and frame her soaring vocals in imaginative arrangements… This is a brilliant second act.” Q – 4 stars ****

“Woozy, cinematic songs full of yearning and vulnerability… Her rich voice remains the star… This is an impressive set.”The Observer – 4 stars ****

“An exquisite return for an exceptional voice.” The Telegraph – 4 stars ****

“An album that puts her rich, romantic voice against a glamorous 1950s ballad setting… This is a celebratory, joyous return.” The Times – 4 stars ****

“Gorgeously uplifting… Harvieu’s voice is as vividly beautiful as ever.” Mail On Sunday – 4 stars **** (Album of the Week)

“Irrespective of it’s grounding in 60s and 70s soul-pop,Revel In The Drama is thrillingly fresh… This album confirms Harvieu should always have been in the driving seat.” The i – 4 stars ****

“A triumph… This life-affirming dose of dreamy retro pop confirms her great talent and lovely, silky voice.” The Sun – 4 stars ****

“A modern spin on classic pop melodrama, all strings and torch ballads.” Daily Mail – 4 stars ****

“The sweet melodies fit Ren’s songwriting shift to uplift and empowerment perfectly… A handsome return.” Daily Mirror – 4 stars ****

“With it’s timeless songwriting, Revel In The Drama boasts a cabaret-esque quality, like Nick Cave doing Broadway, it’s dark side balanced by a twist of mischievousness.” Long Live Vinyl – 8/10

“Harvieu returns at last… Strange Thing’s a string-adorned, dynamic carnival and Cruel Disguise’s twanging guitars and growling organs confirm it’s titles dark dramas… Her rich, empathetic vocal swoops gracefully from note to note.” Classic Pop – 4 stars ****

Happy Release Day Ren Harvieu

Anyone who believes there are no second chances needs to be re-introduced to Ren Harvieu. Seven years after her Top Five debut album, having overcome a life-threatening injury, the Salford-born singer-songwriter returns with Revel In The Drama, a brilliant, bolder and broader take on her timeless pop classicism, a compelling diary of a struggle with self-belief, a release of pent-up tension and a celebration of liberation and survival. Think of Revel In The Drama as Harvieu’s second debut album, a new beginning.

Harvieu’s defiance against the odds and her willingness to lay herself open to make what she believed was within her is baked into every groove of the record, across every stylistic turn: the giddy pop of ‘Strange Thing’, the gothic swoon of ‘Cruel Disguise’, the smoky seductiveness of ‘Yes Please’ through to the stirring torchsong finale ‘My Body She Is Alive’.

“An album that puts her rich, romantic voice against a glamorous 1950s ballad setting… This is a celebratory, joyous return.” The Times – 4 stars ****
 
“Irrespective of it’s grounding in 60s and 70s soul-pop, Revel In The Drama is thrillingly fresh… This album confirms Harvieu should always have been in the driving seat.” The i – 4 stars ****
 
“A triumph… This life-affirming dose of dreamy retro pop confirms her great talent and lovely, silky voice.” The Sun – 4 stars ****
 
“A modern spin on classic pop melodrama, all strings and torch ballads.”Daily Mail – 4 stars ****
 
“The sweet melodies fit Ren’s songwriting shift to uplift and empowerment perfectly… A handsome return.” Daily Mirror – 4 stars ****
 
“A record that propels Harvieu back under the spotlight as a grown-up pop force with weaponised survival instincts… The music gleams with a steely determination to be heard… Golden-age glamour, neon-smeared Hollywood strings and propane-fuelled torch songs… The stars, finally, seem to be right where she wants them.” MOJO – 4 stars ****
 
“Gorgeously uplifting… Harvieu’s voice is as vividly beautiful as ever.” Mail On Sunday – 4 stars **** (Album of the Week)
 
“With it’s timeless songwriting, Revel In The Drama boasts a cabaret-esque quality, like Nick Cave doing Broadway, it’s dark side balanced by a twist of mischievousness.” Long Live Vinyl – 8/10
 
“Harvieu returns at last… Strange Thing’s a string-adorned, dynamic carnival and Cruel Disguise’s twanging guitars and growling organs confirm it’s titles dark dramas… Her rich, empathetic vocal swoops gracefully from note to note.” Classic Pop – 4 stars ****

Ren Harvieu shares ‘Strange Thing’ video

With her new album Revel In The Drama due for release 3rd April via Bella Union Ren Harvieu today shares a video for current single “Strange Thing”. Of the track Harvieu says: “Strange Thing is a serenade to the outsiders of this world. The ignored, misunderstood, awkward self-conscious sparkling diamonds.. Don’t think you’re not being seen because I see you. I am you.” 

Of the video director Jamie Thraves adds: “I heard ‘Teenage Mascara’ on the radio and was an instant fan. She has the vocals and songs to rival KD Lang and Joan As Policewoman. Ren’s music is catchy, strange, hypnotic and beautiful. I reached out to her on Instagram, said if she liked my videos I’d love to work with her. Ren messaged me the next day and said she loved my work. This was a passion project for me. She broke her spine in a freak accident just when her career was about to take off 8 years ago, and I was deeply impressed and touched by her tenacity and talent. Ren’s a genuine star.”

Harvieu and her band, which includes Romeo Stodart from The Magic Numbers, who also co-wrote the record, will be soon heading out on a UK tour – Full dates here.

Revel In The Drama is a brilliant and bolder take on Harvieu’s timeless pop classicism, a compelling diary of a struggle with self-belief and a celebration of liberation and survival, seven years after her Top 5 debut album and having overcome a life-threatening injury.Harvieu’s defiance against the odds and her willingness to lay herself open to make what she believed was within her is baked into every groove of the record, across every stylistic turn: the giddy pop of ‘Strange Thing’, the gothic swoon of ‘Cruel Disguise’, the smokey seductiveness of ‘Yes Please’ through to the stirring torchsong finale ‘My Body She Is Alive’.

Harvieu has come a long way from the 17-year-old who was signed to Island Records and who had no intention of becoming a singer-songwriter. Even when she made her debut album “Through The Night”, her confidence was low. “I did help write a few of the songs on that record, which I’m still very fond of, but I felt more of a mouthpiece for someone else’s talent, which eats away at you especially because I had so much to say lyrically I just hadn’t learnt how to as yet.”

Her injury – a broken spine following “a freak accident” between recording and releasing her debut album – undermined Harvieu even further. Likewise, Island parted ways with her six months after it’s release, despite a Top 5 chart entry, making the BBC’s Sound Of 2012, a 5-star live review from The Guardian and TV exposure. What followed was what Harvieu describes as “some very dark years” which she addresses in songs like ‘Spirit Me Away’ and the 50’s ballad-evoking ‘You Don’t Know Me.’ A split with her long term partner, her manager and then her beloved Salford. “In one fell swoop everything was gone. I knew I had to get away, start again, rebuild myself.” 

It wasn’t until 2015 to be exact, when she met Romeo Stodart, the Magic Numbers frontman and songwriter who had emailed after seeing her perform on Later… With Jools Holland, to ask if she’d consider writing together. “When we started, the energy was immediately different to anyone I’d worked with before, there was this insane instant musical connection” she says. “I loved that Romeo really embraced who I was and encouraged it, I was starting to realise that I didn’t have to be anything other than myself.”

The pair spent the next two years co-writing: “I wasn’t in a massive hurry, because at last I was having fun” Harvieu says. ‘We’d stay up all night drinking, dancing and playing music, I felt like I was re-discovering a girl who had been hidden, quietened. I’d tell Romeo, I don’t just want to paint pretty pictures I want to revel in the drama of my life, the good and the bad, before I was afraid to say something in my lyrics, but no longer. I felt free.” 

The album was co-produced by Romeo Stodart and Dave Izumi Lynch, owner of Echo Zoo studio in Eastbourne where recording took place. “It was a truly magical experience working with Dave & Romeo, they are two absolute nurturing musical wizards.” says Harvieu. 

Harvieu’s lyrical confidence is evident throughout the album and has you leaning in to absorb line after line. Her voice, soaring and caressing in equal measure, is matched in force by her flirtatious personality. From the album’s opening lyric “Let me put my paws on you, strange thing” through to the feminine bite of ‘Curves And Swerves’ “I’ve got some curves and some swerves, what you gonna do about it?” which crackles with sexual tension and an aching vulnerability.

Among Harvieu’s new songs are messages of hope to her younger, anxious self. To the teenage goth Ren in ‘Little Raven’, she says: “I want you to know, that I’m starting to feel, but its gonna take time, but I’m ready to heal”. ‘Tomorrow’s Girl Today’ is to the Ren “who would make bad decisions… we can all be very self-destructive, but will we make it this time?” 

So what now, Ren Harvieu? “I’ve created a second chance for myself“ she says. “And I will keep creating second chances for myself, because this is my life and I’m not afraid to revel in it anymore.” Revel In the Drama of Ren Harvieu – finally we all can too…

Ren Harvieu debuts ‘Yes Please’ visuals

With her new album Revel In The Drama due for release 3rd April via Bella Union, Ren Harvieu has today shared a sultry video for current single “Yes Please”.

Of the video, director Scott Jones says: “Visually, Ren had a vision of what she was looking for. The red light mic hanging in space with a simple performance, mixing with a very sensual close up of full frame lips. It was my job to develop these ideas to hold the viewers interest for the length of the song. I thought a Lynchian, dreamlike approach to the imagery would increase that slow burn intensity of the song, increasing suspense and building tension.”

Harvieu adds: “With the video for Yes Please I wanted to convey the sensuality of the song simply through a vocal performance, using the microphone as the object of desire that I tease.”

Additionally, Harvieu has announced news of an extensive UK tour, beginning late April in Sheffield and culminating in a performance at London’s Moth Club. Dates/info HERE.

Revel In The Drama is a brilliant and bolder take on Harvieu’s timeless pop classicism, a compelling diary of a struggle with self-belief and a celebration of liberation and survival, seven years after her Top 5 debut album and having overcome a life-threatening injury.Harvieu’s defiance against the odds and her willingness to lay herself open to make what she believed was within her is baked into every groove of the record, across every stylistic turn: the giddy pop of ‘Strange Thing’, the gothic swoon of ‘Cruel Disguise’, the smokey seductiveness of ‘Yes Please’ through to the stirring torchsong finale ‘My Body She Is Alive’.

Harvieu has come a long way from the 17-year-old who was signed to Island Records and who had no intention of becoming a singer-songwriter. Even when she made her debut album “Through The Night”, her confidence was low. “I did help write a few of the songs on that record, which I’m still very fond of, but I felt more of a mouthpiece for someone else’s talent, which eats away at you especially because I had so much to say lyrically I just hadn’t learnt how to as yet.”

Her injury – a broken spine following “a freak accident” between recording and releasing her debut album – undermined Harvieu even further. Likewise, Island parted ways with her six months after it’s release, despite a Top 5 chart entry, making the BBC’s Sound Of 2012, a 5-star live review from The Guardian and TV exposure. What followed was what Harvieu describes as “some very dark years” which she addresses in songs like ‘Spirit Me Away’ and the 50’s ballad-evoking ‘You Don’t Know Me.’ A split with her long term partner, her manager and then her beloved Salford. “In one fell swoop everything was gone. I knew I had to get away, start again, rebuild myself.” 

It wasn’t until 2015 to be exact, when she met Romeo Stodart, the Magic Numbers frontman and songwriter who had emailed after seeing her perform on Later… With Jools Holland, to ask if she’d consider writing together. “When we started, the energy was immediately different to anyone I’d worked with before, there was this insane instant musical connection” she says. “I loved that Romeo really embraced who I was and encouraged it, I was starting to realise that I didn’t have to be anything other than myself.”

The pair spent the next two years co-writing: “I wasn’t in a massive hurry, because at last I was having fun” Harvieu says. ‘We’d stay up all night drinking, dancing and playing music, I felt like I was re-discovering a girl who had been hidden, quietened. I’d tell Romeo, I don’t just want to paint pretty pictures I want to revel in the drama of my life, the good and the bad, before I was afraid to say something in my lyrics, but no longer. I felt free.” 

The album was co-produced by Romeo Stodart and Dave Izumi Lynch, owner of Echo Zoo studio in Eastbourne where recording took place. “It was a truly magical experience working with Dave & Romeo, they are two absolute nurturing musical wizards.” says Harvieu. 

Harvieu’s lyrical confidence is evident throughout the album and has you leaning in to absorb line after line. Her voice, soaring and caressing in equal measure, is matched in force by her flirtatious personality. From the album’s opening lyric “Let me put my paws on you, strange thing” through to the feminine bite of ‘Curves And Swerves’ “I’ve got some curves and some swerves, what you gonna do about it?” which crackles with sexual tension and an aching vulnerability.

Among Harvieu’s new songs are messages of hope to her younger, anxious self. To the teenage goth Ren in ‘Little Raven’, she says: “I want you to know, that I’m starting to feel, but its gonna take time, but I’m ready to heal”. ‘Tomorrow’s Girl Today’ is to the Ren “who would make bad decisions… we can all be very self-destructive, but will we make it this time?” 

So what now, Ren Harvieu? “I’ve created a second chance for myself“ she says. “And I will keep creating second chances for myself, because this is my life and I’m not afraid to revel in it anymore.” Revel In the Drama of Ren Harvieu – finally we all can too…