Sonically adventurous, lyrically detailed and engaged, Storm Damage - written and produced by Watt - is a personal journey through anxiety and change cut through with an insistent defiance.
"I needed a fresh approach," says Watt, 56. "The album came out of an intense period of personal anguish and political anger. Sometimes repeating yourself musically feels disrespectful to the sharpness of your feelings. You have to search for a new way to capture the energy."
"My closest half-brother died unexpectedly in 2016, only four years after my half-sister," he says of events surrounding the album's origins. "I got stuck for a year, angry inside and angry at the political world casually detonating around me. I felt half powerless, half driven. When the songs finally came, some were dark, yes, but there is always room for light. Always. I just tried to put that across"
Sonically the album forgoes the acclaimed twin-guitar approach of its two predecessors, and boldly shifts focus onto - in Watt's words -"a future-retro trio" of upright piano, double bass and hybrid acoustic-electronic drums, set against a half-lit backdrop of lone analogue synths, spiralling echo spins and impressionistic 'found sounds' adapted from online public-domain recording archives. Low's Alan Sparhawk makes a guest appearance on electric guitar and harmony vocal.
"I wanted a timeless-meets-modern live jam - the directness of an unadorned trio capturing the spirit; and the samples, synthetics and electronic boom capturing the psychological mood" he says."I searched for one-off drones, spoken voices, feedback, urban recordings; not unlike the way I worked in the mid nineties."
1. Balanced On A Wire 2. Summer Ghosts 3. Retreat To Find 4. Figures In The Landscape 5. Knife In The Drawer 6. Irene 7. Sunlight Follows The Night 8. Hand 9. You’ve Changed, I’ve Changed 10. Festival Song