Edinburgh’s Half Formed Things have released a new digital single entitled ‘Embers’. The track is accompanied by a music video produced by David McLachlan and Richy McAllister.
Originally the fourth track on their debut self-titled EP (September 2016, Bastion Records), the band ultimately pulled it from the record before release. “Alongside the other three tracks on the EP, we never felt like it sat quite right. It shifted the tone of the whole record into far darker territory than felt appropriate”, says percussionist and producer Stewart McLachlan, “So, it never made the end product – but as time went on, we couldn’t shake how attached we were to it as a song, so we decided to just get it out there by itself. It’s an unusual one amongst our repertoire, but I’m very glad we saw it through to completion.”
“Anxiety was very much the primary emotional reference point for constructing the song”, vocalist and guitarist, Matthew Bakewell adds. “The repetition, the build, the “heartbeat” kick drum pulse, the lyrics, all designed to create a sense of claustrophobia and oppression.”
The song was largely constructed with vocalist/pianist Morgan Hosking’s Digitech JamMan pedal. Hosking arranged the song’s interweaving vocal harmonies with a haunting piano loop as a base, while Bakewell’s lead vocal part came spontaneously. “Matthew just started singing, and most of the words and melodies formed right there”, explains Hosking. “The main vocal that made the final mix is more or less a demo take, but the song was built around that kind of naked improvisation anyway, so it all fits together. The song also features guest vocalist Nici Hosking, Morgan’s sister. “We wanted to texturally enrich the sound with a second ‘instrumental’ vocalist, rather than have all layers come from me”, she explains, “But having that amount of harmonies stacked on top of each other also means they all have to be water tight. Nic and I have been singing together all our lives and we’ve developed a kind of musical symbiosis that I don’t have with any other singer. She was able to fit herself seamlessly into the arrangement.”
‘Embers’ is available as a free download, and as a bonus track on the current line of CD reissues of the self-titled EP. Either can be purchased from the Bastion Records site. Half Formed Things can be seen live at Kelburn Garden Party on July 2nd, and Mugstock on July 29th. They will also be playing a special guest acoustic set at LINEAE, the debut exhibition of photographer Louise McLachlan, at Custom Lane, Edinburgh, on August 6th.
Watch the video for ‘Embers’ here: