INTERVIEW: Cauls | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Chris McManus

Though they’ve been off the scene for a while now, progressive rock five-piece Cauls make a very welcome return this month with the release of their much-anticipated album, Recherché, which has been a long time in the making, given the band inititally formed back in 2009. The word ‘Recherché’ itself means well-refined, esoteric, or somewhat obscure: a pretty apt summary of Cauls as a band…

“Cauls formed in 2009, the legends tell, but as a three piece,” explains vocalist Michael Marwood. “Previously I had heard (by said legends) that Chris (McManus, drums) had a singerless band so I asked to be part of it, politely but confidently mind, and he said ‘no’. It wasn’t until we sang Always by Bon Jovi together at Moji Karaoke that he knew he had made a grave mistake. We had all played in separate and contrasting outfits prior to this ensemble so we were lucky to find something that fit, with a similar desired outcome. After a small tour, the release of our self-titled EP, some festival gigs (2000 Trees, Arctangent) and a few line-up changes, we decided to embark on the oh so wondrous journey of writing an album.”

Indeed it has been something of a journey, with the framework of the album first recorded back in February 2015. With Cauls’ seemingly painstaking approach to creating music, it’s no surprise it’s taken some time. “Some of the material goes way back, even before the previous EP. We tend to try and have ideas running simultaneously so we can move between them. It takes months to bring a song to completion. There are ever-evolving sections and movements which must be glued together accordingly, and although it may seem very time consuming and unnecessary at times, for us, they’re all accomplishments.” The result is a behemoth of a record, brimming with astonishing technical wizardry and a wealth of sonic diversity. Ethereal, otherworldy soundscapes give way to huge crunching riffs, and with tracks at least eight epic minutes long, the complex arrangements and different musicial textures that are meticulously layered into each song take on an almost shamanic force. Understandably, it’s somewhat difficult to pin Cauls down to one genre. “We incorporate varying time signatures and polyrhythms into our set along with riff sections, wig outs and ambient noodlings, which lend themselves to math-rock, prog-rock and jazzy fucking emo-core ideals, but it is important for us to maintain a listenable aspect and sit within a mix of genres.”

Of course, Marwood’s lyrics are an equally as intriguing prospect as Cauls’ multifaceted sound. “They’re kind of meanderings related to recent happenings, with enough ambiguity to be allocated to multiple notions. They do hold personal references and secret messages, there’s a cryptic crossword temperament. To be honest, you probably can’t distinguish a word of it. The lyrics will be available on the insert or as a PDF somewhere to anyone who cares for a bit of light reading.”

With Recherché, Cauls have created a record that really is an esoteric wonder, and it’s been well worth the wait. “It’s paramount for us that we don’t get bored when writing, or playing live for that matter”, says Marwood. “We challenge ourselves constantly to make our music not only listenable, but interesting. We pride ourselves on the complexities of our compositions, and achieving fluidity when performing them is always a battle. So hopefully the struggle and turmoil we endure is evident and appreciated somewhat.”

Cauls will release Recherché via bandcamp on Monday 3rd April.

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