On August 25th 2014 Alburn released their second EP “Mouthful of Glass” via Spilt Lies Records. The latest EP follows on from “Engines”, Alburns debut EP, released back in 2012. A hard hitting alternative indie band, Alburn comprise of Pete Duthie (guitar, vocals), Gee MacPhee (guitar, vocals), Chris Hunter (bass) and Danny Kelly (drums). Mouthful of Glass was recorded with Neil Kennedy at The Ranch (Ranch Production House in Southampton, UK) and mastered by Alan Douches.
Pete and Gee are both from Perth in Scotland, not Australia. I actually didn’t know there was a Perth in Scotland until now. The pair grew up playing in bands together whilst Chris and Danny more or less done the same thing, only in Lanarkshire instead of Perth. “Engines” in 2012 was a duo effort by Alburn until two became a four piece in 2013 and the Alburn that is now was born.
Mouthful Of Glass is solely a group effort. It is very versatile, changing tone and pace throughout. Each band member involves himself through inputting his own ideologies. There are similar and contrasting music tastes here. Different influences alter each of the four songs. It’s fitting there are four songs and four band members. It’s almost as if one person worked on a song entirely off their own accord. Mouthful of Glass is a search for finding one’s own style and voice.
“The Nurses Can’t Help Me” opens the EP. Style of vocals remind me a little of Three Days Grace. There are overtones of American rock. The song has start/stop guitar combos with a catchy chorus and heavy drums providing an undeniable hook. The introduction is powerful as drums and guitar crash down together. The guitar slows down and becomes a picked tune. Vocals that are rough around the edges are then introduced. Bearing in mind this is a Scottish band, you cannot hear an accent at all. Alburn are completely neutral, universal. A gradual build up exists in between the chorus. A soft, quiet picked guitar and vocals become a whole lot louder. The ending is abrupt.
In “Golden” vocals are almost immediate. An extremely slow start includes vocals that are drawn out, far more dramatic than in The “Nurses Can’t Help Me”. Drum beats are slower also. There is a stark contrast to the previous song. “Mouthful of Glass” is extremely fast paced. Drums and guitar are sped up. Vocals are somewhere in the middle of “Golden” and “The Nurses Can’t Help Me”. Hinting at dramatic but not as rough around the edges. Elements of screamo exist here. It is evident the band experimented the most with this song. So much is happening. “Sweetheart” is a soft acoustic piece. Vocals are different yet again. Something like Damien Rice. There are no drums, no screamo, no electric guitar. It is more like a solo piece than anything else.
Who makes up Alburn and where are you from?
“Alburn consists of Pete Duthie and Gee MacPhee, who are both from Perth. Danny Kelly and Chris Hunter are both from just outside Glasgow in Lanarkshire.”
Can you tell us a bit about your backgrounds?
“Myself (Pete) and Gee have been playing music together since we were kids and played our first gig when we were 12 with our old pop punk band. Chris and Danny were similar and played in previous bands. The four of us joined up at the start of 2013 and that’s when the band started to take shape.”
In what ways has your music progressed since “Engines” in 2012?
“The Engines EP was pretty much entirely written by Gee with a little bit of guitar input from me and we both recorded it all with the help of a friend to track the drums. It goes without saying that our new music has a lot more variety due to the four of us now writing together and stamping our individual influences on it. There will always be a common musical influence due to our similar tastes but our sound is becoming more and more unique to us, in my opinion. I feel like Mouthful Of Glass has broken some boundaries and has created a more refined sound.”
Can you give us some background to “The Nurses Can’t Help Me”?
“This is a frankenstein song that is made up of different ideas each of us had. It was the first song we all properly wrote together and we had it pretty much finished in one rehearsal. We made a conscious effort to write a straight up, hard-hitting rock song.”
Can you give us some background to “Golden”?
“This is the oldest song on the EP and is most similar to our older stuff with the quiet/loud dynamics. Our producer, Neil Kennedy, gave a lot of input in this song and helped us shape it by suggesting vocal parts in previous instrumentals to help it flow better. Lyrics-wise, it’s a bit “emo”, with the verses pretty literal and the choruses not so much…”
Can you give us some background to “Mouthful of Glass”?
“This is the most experimental we’ve been when writing a song. The fast, punky beat is something we’ve never done before and combining it with the sharp, cutting guitars and hectic, shouty vocals is great fun to play live. In contrast the choruses are more flowing with super-layered guitars and vocals.The lyrics as a whole are obviously fairly nautical themed, about the demise of a Captain and his ship. Metaphors galore so people can relate what they want to it and I’m sure each of us have our own meanings for this song.”
Can you give us some background to “Sweetheart”?
“Sweetheart is a contradiction of soft, delicate acoustic music crossed with hard-hitting, dark and almost aggressive lyrics. It’s about as open, straight forward and honest as it gets, yet not drawn from any personal experience. The lyrics aren’t complex because it’s intended to be as real and obvious as possible. Gee recorded it live, at home with one mic in front of him to emphasise the rawness, simplicity and urgency of the song. “I wanted it to sound as if I’ve just killed my girlfriend and now I’m recording a song about it.” ”
Who are your influences?
“We are all big fans of East Coast American bands like Sainthood Reps, Balance and Composure, Brand New and Crime In Stereo – these are probably the most audible in our songs but we each listen to a variety of different styles which we try to bring into the band in different ways. For example, Gee loves stuff like Milk Carton Kids and Josh Ritter which influences his vocals/harmonies and Danny’s hard-hitting drum style is influenced by bands like Architects and ADTR.”
Are your families musical?
“There has always been a piano and guitar in my house and my brother is a talented pianist. I was always more interested in the guitar though. My grandfather was also musical and played the accordion, organ and harmonica. Gee’s brother had an acoustic guitar when he was a kid but Gee surpassed his skills pretty quickly and claimed it as his own.”
What can we expect from Alburn in the coming months?
“We have a lot of one off Scottish shows and a couple of cool, local festivals coming up. We’ve joined up with The Daily Dischord Agency to act as our booking agent and they’ve been busy seeking out opportunities and dealing with gig offers on our behalf so we’re set to be pretty busy on the live side of things. We’re dying to get writing again as we know that we can get bigger and better stuff out there so the next plan is another EP and then a full length.”
“You’re a local band until you get a record contract, then all of a sudden Bruce Springsteen is your competition”- Sammy Llana, The Bodeans.