Lost Alone: New Album Stream + Exclusive Track-by-Track Guide

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LostAlone's excellent new album Shapes Of Screams is in shops now. Hear it now, as frontman Steven Battelle gives TeamRock an exclusive track-by-track guide...

Listen here to Shapes Of Screams

Crusaders

“If there’s one song I had to play to people to sum up the album it’d be this song, because I think it has every element of our band crammed into three and a half minutes. I went to see the musical Les Mis, and when I was walking home I literally heard the whole song in my head. Often when I write songs I don’t necessarily attach a specific meaning to them, but looking at this one now it feels like it’s about the three of us and our own crusade, a rallying cry for the fight that we’re constantly facing, because we don’t exactly fit in. In a somewhat ridiculous way, it’s kinda imagining us as part of the French Revolution, running through the streets and waving LostAlone flags, fighting for our cause.”

The Bells! The Bells!!

“I wrote this in Paris when we were on tour. Music comes to me in odd situations sometimes – I never actually write anything with instruments, I always write the songs in my head while walking around – and I was near Notre Dame and the whole “The Bells! The Bells!” thing from The Hunchback… came to me, so that was the starting point. I love using harmony vocals, and I’d had this idea for something called a ‘break-dong’, which is where instead of using a traditional breakdown, the song switches to hundreds of stereo mes going ‘Ding! Dong!’ back and forth. I know that sounds a bit over the top, but it’s how I heard it in my head. I guess it’s something like Pink Floyd trying to capture the feel of the madness inside a head on Dark Side Of The Moon.”

Hostages

“I’ve wanted to do a song with strings and so I spent a lot of time composing this. A lot of songs on the album are about time, and I had this phrase about how we’re all breathing history, because every moment is already history as soon as it’s gone: it sounds a bit pretentious but I guess a lot of musicians are trying to create a kind of freedom that transcends everyday reality, and so this is basically about trying to abandon what’s perceived as the normal things to do in life.”

Sombre Party

“I wrote this song and Hostages around the same time. I never think about other bands when I write, but on this occasion I really felt a Weezer vibe, and I love that band, so I thought ‘I’m just going to go with this’ and keep it as the kind of straight song you could play on an acoustic guitar, with simple chords and melodies. I tried my hardest not to add anything extra to it. So this is one of the most straight ahead, direct songs LostAlone have ever done. There’s no need to go crazy on a song when it already feels right.”

Guilty

“Nobody else really agrees with me here, but personally I think this sounds a bit like Deep Purple, with the big Jon Lord-style Hammond organ we put on it. Lyrically a lot of our songs come from some dark thought in my head that I have no idea about when I’m writing it, but in this case I woke up from a dream about Snow White, and the lyrics are ‘Suffer as a prisoner inside a guilty brain. Tiny hammers in my veins telling me to crave’ because I’d thought about the seven dwarves just tapping away with hammers at the veins in my brain making me crave things I shouldn’t have. So obviously I figured that needed a big Deep Purple riff!”

Mental Health

“This is straight out of our Dark Era. With our last record we were signed to Warners in the US, and it was an amazing experience, and then just before we were about to release the album, everyone there who knew us was let go, including the A&R guy who signed us. And at that point they told us that they had no plans to release the record, which they hadn’t even heard at that point. We didn’t even get a chance to fail, so it was a massive blow. So lyrically this comes from that time, when I was incredibly down, having had everything I’d dreamt about since I was kid fall apart. It was a hard song for me to record, but it did help me get out of that low point and so I hope people hear some positivity in it.”

Apathy

“I heard this song complete in my head, and at the time I think I was angry that I wasn’t born in, like 1960, and doing our band in the 1970s when people bought records in massive numbers and music was so incredibly special to people. I mean, in this industry we’re all in this for the music, and yet the music seems to be the least important thing to a lot of people, at least in terms of where the money gets put. I kinda hate the fact that the modern world dictates that I have to be on social networks 247 selling our music to people who already like us. Basically it’s a song about putting music first.”

Scarlet Letter Rhymes

“This might sound a bit ridiculous, but this song deploys a tactic that I’ve got called Self Dream Plagiarism, which is where I dream that I’m going to a gig or watching a band and then I hear a song in the dream and when I wake up I rip it off. Well, I’m not ripping it off, because it’s my dream so I’m the one creating the song, but you know what I mean. The lyrics are ludicrous, stuff that you couldn’t possibly write if you sat down with a pen and paper.”

I Was Born To End This Way

“This song is kinda about the things I want, one of which is wanting to experience a tragedy, which sounds really weird. A lot of my friends have had people close to them die, but i’ve been lucky in that no-one really, really close to me has ever died, so in a strange way I’ve missed out on that feeling of grief. I mean, that sounds horrible, right, I honestly don’t want people to die, it was just a nagging feeling. As it happens, my grandfather passed away after I wrote it and then I did feel all the loss and grief that I’d talked about. On the flip-side of all this darkness, this song sounds to me like it should be the theme tune to a Saturday night light entertainment TV game show starring Michael Barrymore…”

Requiem

“This too comes from our post-Warners, nothing on the horizon, doom and gloom period. It’s basically my version of Sinatra’s My Way, with me singing about everything we’ve been through. And rather fantastically, we managed to get the official 2012 Olympics choir to sing on it, via a tweet I put out. That was one of the best musical experience I’ve ever had, it blew my mind to hearing these incredible singers singing my arrangements. This might be my favourite track on the album.”

Doooooooooomageddon (Global Thermonuclear Metafictional Warfare)

“People who know us know that we’re serious about our music, but that title comes from the ‘80s movie War Games, and it’s kinda hilarious to me, but it felt right because the song is so over-the-top. I wrote the song with the Helm’s Deep scene from the Two Towers on loop, and at the start of the song you can hear the T Rex from Jurassic Park harmonised with the leader of the Uruk-hai marching into Helm’s Deep harmonised in D minor. Hopefully you can pick that out. I’m pretty sure it’s the only song that’s ever had a mythical beast harmonising with an extinct beast. I might be wrong though…”

Breathing In The Future, Exhaling The Past

“This song is basically one big chorus, and it was written specifically to end the album. Les Mis ends with an epilogue where all the ghosts come back from the dead to sing and I wanted this to be our version of that. It’s kinda appreciating the fact that when you’re a writer or a singer or artist, whether you’re successful or not, your creations will live on hundreds of years after your death. I consider it a nice bookend to Crusaders to close out the album.”