October 2020 brings the release of Splintered Metal Sky, the long-awaited new instalment in the ever-vast musical cannon of WHITE HILLS. The album takes the listener on a post-punk, psychedelic ride fuelled by industrial-strength fuzz and propelled by powerful beats where songs weave in and out of each other to imitate the rhythm of the band’s home, New York City. The music was largely inspired by the drone and roar of machinery pulsing through the urban landscape, which is in a never-ending state of demolition and reconstruction. The duo gathered field recordings of sounds from the subway, drills, jack-hammers, traffic, mayhem and the occasional silence and used them to construct songs.
‘Illusion‘, the first track to be shared from the album, is a blistering, Killing Joke-esque groove featuring the ambient guitar work of film-maker and musician Jim Jarmusch and is built around Ego’s solid, jagged drum beat. The chorus “We All Fall Down”, inspired by the nursery rhyme ‘Ring-a-ring of Roses’ fabled to be from the days of the Black Death in Europe, takes on a new meaning given today’s events. The video for ‘Illusion’ gathers inspiration from the work of The Brothers Quay, film noir and 1960s Star Trek episodes. Many of the photos in the video collage come from Ego’s collection of tour photos, particularly from a cemetery in Prague.
Splintered Metal Sky was recorded and mixed at Studio G in Brooklyn with engineer Jeff Berner (Psychic TV). The album features numerous guest appearances including fellow Only Lovers Left Alive alumni Yasmine Hamdan, Jim Jarmusch, Simone Marie Butler (Primal Scream) and Jim Coleman (Human Impact/Cop Shoot Cop). Running with the idea of collaboration, Dave decided to work with longtime friend Johnny Brewton, a collage artist who has quite a resume of his own in the art world having worked with and for Mark Motherbaugh at Mutato Muzika, Tom Waits, Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski.