Cancel The Astronauts have featured on here a lot in the last 18 months and it’s a cause for some celebration in the MPT household that their debut LP ‘Animal Love Match’ is finally released next Monday (17th).

Ahead of the LP’s release I caught up with MatthewRiley and Chris Kay from the band to put together  a podcast featuring not just 4 tracks from the LP but also 5 exclusive acoustic renditions of CTA songs, only some of which will appear on the new LP.

So here’s the podcast but I’ve also written up a short piece based on the interview below if you don’t have time to listen to the whole thing just now. But you should!

‘Animal Love Match’ is not just the title of the lead track but also the LP and Matthew explained it has a significance in relation to the other songs.

“It has a nice ring to it, it just flows quite nicely. There’s something about the language and the syllables that just is quite kind of poetic. But also it sums up quite well what the album is about.

“The album is about the conflict between animal instincts and animal urges and desires. Which is one way to live your live, just giving in to that sort of thing versus just living in a moral and ethical way. The album’s supposed to be asking questions about who you want to be, are you proud of yourself and how do you live your life.”

The LP was self-recorded at drummer Chris Kay’s studio in Markinch which may have reduced costs but also led to other problems, not least the time taken to  record the record as Chris explains.

“ We started recording as soon as I got my new kit, nearly two years ago. We just took it from there, very, very slowly.

“We didn’t have a deadline because we were doing it ourselves and could go back and do things again. If we’d been in a studio  it would have cost us thousands upon thousands of pounds, the time we spent on it.”

Matt agrees:

“ This was one of the disadvantages of doing it by ourselves, it just takes a very long time. We did discuss the merits of going into a studio and doing it there or using Chris’s knowledge experience and equipment. And we chose to do it that way.

“The benefit has been we’ve been able to add new songs like ‘While I Was Sleeping’, ‘I Sold My Soul’ or ‘Catch You’ – you can go ‘Wow – that’s a great song, we’ll stick that on the album’. But that means 4 or 5 months of extra recording and things drag on and on.”

The band’s made up of 5 different personalities with different tastes and that led to conflict at times during recording as Chris admits.

“ The recording did put a bit of strain on us. Because we were doing it ourselves it wasn’t like one producer saying it’s going to be done this way. We didn’t fall out big style but there was a lot of bickering and I could have strangled them a few times. But it was really hard work.”

Matt reckons that the record has been a product of a difficult process.

“There’s definitely been a lot of compromises been made which is inevitable when we’ve all got very different tastes,  particularly over the tracklisting itself.

“Because it was the debut album as well we were trying lots of different things in lots of different ways which means it drags on. And one person doesn’t like one thing but another really loves it who gets the casting vote? So arguments went on and on which is one reason it’s taken so long to finish.”

If there were different opinions on what the record would sound like and what would be on it, Matt has a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve with the songwriting at least – mixing dark lyrics with more upbeat backing.

“That’s what all the best bands do.  It’s what the Smiths did, it’s what Jarvis Cocker did. That’s very deliberate. It’s easier to write melancholic and darker lyrics and it’s maybe the healthier way to express that through art rather than acting it out in real life. But I’m also a sucker for big chart pop and it’s nice to put those things together.

“For example ‘Promises of Strangers’ was written as a Girls Aloud song to start with. I’m a big Girls Aloud fan and sometimes I try and test myself by writing a song in a style of a different artist. It keeps the songwriting muscles toned and flexed.”

If you’re a fan of pop music with a twist then I’d urge you to investigate ‘Animal Love Match’. Unfortunately the band’s LP launch at Sneaky Pete’s on Saturday 15th has been cancelled but the band are working hard on setting up a replacement later in the autumn.

In the meantime you can seek out the LP from their Bandcamp or, from next Monday, in all good Scottish record stores.