by Alex Watson
After nearly a five year wait, Scottish indie band Withered Hand have finally unveiled information about their long anticipated second album. Due to be released in February 2014, the record is to be titled New Gods, and will consist of eleven songs.
Apart from upbeat track ‘Heart, Heart’, the new album is entirely made up of previously unrecorded music. There have been some notable changes in the Withered Hand line up since the first album, Good News. Listeners can expect to hear Malcolm Benzie (from band Eagleowl), Peter Liddle (Second Hand Marching Band), Fraser Hughes (Second Hand Marching Band and The Occasional Flickers) and Alun Thomas joining Dan Willson (Withered Hand founder and frontman) on New Gods. The final cut of brand new track ‘Horseshoe’ hints at a much bigger and broader sound overall for this album. According to Willson, the nostalgic feel of the song is thanks to his own music taste being stuck in the 1990s.
Willson has also rustled up some well known performers to feature on the album. Pam Berry (Black Tambourine), Eugene Kelly (The Vaselines) and members of Glasgow’s Belle and Sebastian appear throughout the record. Founder of Fife’s Fence Records, Kenny Anderson (AKA King Creosote) also guests on several songs. Willson admits to intentionally preserving a small slice of Scottish music history in New Gods. The musicians guesting on the record have all inspired him, in some way or another. The singer said: “Part of it is paying your dues, and part of it is making a document of something. It was an opportunity to have versions of these songs that I wrote with people who, over the last ten years, have made music which I think is amazing.”
Despite his DIY music background, Willson, has chosen to release New Gods in partnership with record labels FortunaPOP! (UK and Europe) and Slumberland Records (USA). Willson said: “My intention all the time when I was recording this album was to self release it, like I did with previous things. And, at some point in the process, I thought, ‘Oh, this is going really, really well. I probably can’t do this record justice.'” Willson also opted to polish the sound for this album by recruiting famous music producer, Tony Doogan. Doogan has previously produced successful albums for well known acts, including Belle and Sebastian, The Mountain Goats and Mogwai. Willson said: “I waited until I knew that I could work with Tony Doogan, the producer, because I’d never really worked with a producer before, and I was really intrigued.”
When asked about the length of time it has taken for this new album to come to fruition, Dan Willson explained that something held him back from completing New Gods until he was certain he could make it the record he wanted. Willson said: “Some of [the reasons] are to do with really boring things like money, and some are to do with recognising that this bunch of songs that were coming was the next album.”