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Electric Mother release much-anticipated second album

Electric Mother’s second album, II, is set to be released, this Saturday. (Artwork created by Shaun Gardiner, edited by Erik Grieve)

One of Orkney’s most popular rock bands has released their much-anticipated second album, today, Saturday.

Born out of the first-ever Orkney Rock Festival back in 2014, five-piece band Electric Mother have developed a dedicated following, both at home and further afield. Known for their high-energy performances, memories of their floor-thumping, head-banging, t-shirt-waving gigs are likely still fresh in the minds of fans — despite the lack of live music entertainment this past year.

Many of the local music scene’s bands have been effectively silenced by the pandemic, unable to rehearse or perform. But in dark times, there is creativity — and Electric Mother’s much-anticipated second album, II, will be a welcome offering for many music fans.

Ahead of the release, vocalist Calum Elder has shared how the fabled “difficult second album” was brought to life.

“It’s been almost five years to the day since we released our first album: Vol.1,” he said.

“It seems like an age — and it kind of is. But for this album, we wanted to do it right, and spend as much time doing so as was needed.

“We learned a heck of a lot from recording Vol.1, which we are still very proud of. It gave us the knowledge of what worked and what didn’t, when it came to making a more polished and professional-sounding album.

“Teaming up with the very experienced Eamonn Keyes (producer/engineer) allowed us to create and hone the album in the way we wanted. His ideas
and knowledge were invaluable in capturing what we had in mind.”

According to Calum, a considerable amount of time was spent on recording each aspect of every track. This allowed for more room to get the biggest/best sound possible.

“Using separation for recording the instruments was key,” he said.

“It allowed us to carve out the intricacies we desired on each song.

“As for the vocals, they were far more of a focus than the last album, which for me was great.

“It allowed for a bit of experimentation in areas, and also gave me the opportunity to get the phrasing and melody exactly how I wanted it to be.”

Once the tracks were finished being recorded, they were mixed by Eamonn before being sent off  to Pete Maher, a mastering engineer, who has worked with the likes of U2, Jack White and the Rolling Stones, to name a

Top left: Robert MacGregor (guitar), top right: Calum Elder (vocals), centre left: Andrew Taylor (guitar), centre right: John Brown (drums), bottom left: Eoin Thomson (bass). (Photography by Gary Cooper — Coop Gig Photography)

He created the final, polished tracks, ready to be sent for manufacturing and digital release.

Artwork for the album was also an important factor for the group, who are known for their slick and eyecatching branding.

“For the album artwork, we wanted something that would stand out and could be a piece of art in itself,” said Calum.

“We enlisted the talented hand of local artist Shaun Gardiner for this task, as we had admired his artwork for a long time.

“He was great to work with, and produced a fantastic, sprawling piece for us to use.

“It’s dark, brooding and otherworldly, which we feel fits with our genre perfectly.

“Erik Grieve helped us out with all the graphic design for the different platforms we planned to release the album on.

“A tricky task, as each medium required slightly different sizes and formats. A lot of tinkering, from the ultimate tinkerer, got the finished products looking fantastic.”

This homegrown force of musicality couldn’t have got far without the support of the community in Orkney.

“We also have to give thanks to Alan Taylor for letting us take over his house for extended periods of time, to allow us to record,” Calum added.

“And also, Garry Cooper for providing us with some fantastic live shots to use on the inserts.

“Thanks to Eileen Cooper, also, for her hand in printing and scanning imagery for us.”

Overall, Calum and his bandmates — Andrew Taylor (guitar), Rob MacGregor (guitar), Eoin Thomson (bass) and John Brown (drums) — believe this latest album is another benchmark in their progress as a group.

“With the release of II, we feel it gives an accurate representation of how the band has progressed, both sonically and professionally,” the vocalist said.

“It’s a more coherent album of songs which showcase the groove we have made for ourselves in the music world. It’s heavy, yet melodic. Intense and intricate. Raw, yet refined.

“All in all, it was a long, long labour of love. At times it felt like things were dragging, but in the end we feel it was worth it.

“We hope that it is enjoyed by everyone who listens. We promise it won’t be another five years until our next release . . .  maybe!”

For more information and further updates from the band, visit Electric Mother’s Facebook page, check out their Bandcamp page, and get the album on vinyl or CD from Grooves this Saturday.