Alex Rex is the nom de guerre of Alex Neilson - drummer to some of the most innovative musicians on the international underground, including Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Shirley Collins, Jandek and Current 93. Alex has synthesised the agonised self-invention and charismatic death-drive of these artists into his solo vehicle - abandoning the folk-rock pomp of his previous band Trembling Bells for something darker and wilder.
ANDROMEDA is a game of emotional snakes and ladders. It’s the product of two years spent in therapy, the gym and on Tinder. It opens with the voice of folk legend Shirley Collins in ”Song of Self Doubt” – a sparse assemblage of spoken words layered on bright chimes and birdsong. And from there we wander down corridors of cruelty, recklessness and recrimination.
“I Am Happy” is a gut-punch to the brain. Think classic-era Nick Cave but without the gothic posturing. “Haunted House” is a ghost-rock ballad about an emotional poltergeist looking for love. “Rottweilers” is a song about the hell hounds of the mind - the phantoms of self-deception and self-destruction that impress themselves on the brain like a depressed Mount Rushmore. “Coward’s Song” sets some lines from Richard III to a skeletal country waltz and was recently recorded by Bonnie “Prince” Billy. “I’m Not Hurting No More” sounds like poetry etched out by a pneumatic drill in an electrical storm, while album closer “Pass The Mask” is about the anxiety of childbearing by someone who has never borne a child - passing the relay baton of disappointment from generation to generation. It’s Philip Larkin’s head on Cat Stephen’s body.
Featuring a consolidated line up of long-time collaborator Rory Haye, with Audrey Bizouerne (Rev Magnetic / Bill Wells) and Georgia Seddon (Mike Heron / The Incredible String Band) along with guest appearances from Shirley Collins and Stevie Jackson, ANDROMEDA is the first ghost rock album. Self loathing has never sounded so sexy.
released February 7, 2020
Alex Neilson- vocals/ drums/ wine glass/ piano
Rory Haye- bass/ electric guitar/ piano/ acoustic guitar/ vocals/ wine glass
Audrey Bizouerne- bass/ vocals
Georgia Seddon- piano/ organ/ vocals
Glad Café Kid’s Choir
Debbie Armour- vocals
Lavinia Blackwall- piano/ vocals
Shirley Collins- vocals
Paddy Coyle- electric guitar
Tim Davidson- pedal steel guitar
Chris Geddes- Hammond organ
Stevie Jackson- electric guitar
Ross McCrae- trombone
Dave McGowan- pedal steel guitar
Richie Merchant- cornet/ trumpet
Alasdair C Mitchell- electric guitar
Amanda Nizic- vocals
Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh- viola
Jill O’Sullivan- electric guitar/ violin/ vocals
Marco Rea- slide guitar/ vocals
All songs by Alex Neilson with heavy lifting by Rory Haye and arrangements by the musicians
Recorded at Anchor Lane Studio by Luigi Pasquini & assisted by Jimi Maffei (except Pass The Mask recorded by Marco Rea
Cover and album face photos by Audrey Bizouerne.
Inner sleeve and back cover photos by Tom Chick
Sleeve notes by Carrie Foulkes
Emma Spence, Alex Merry, Kyle Lonsdale, Emma Cardwell, Becca Harrison, Harrison Reid, Maiken Kildegaard, Pete Paphides, Enrico La Rocca, Stewart Travers, Rhia Davenport, Russ Gator, TSPTR, Lewis Porteous, Pete Coward, Eric Chenaux, Ellie Griffiths, Corrina Seddon, Mike Heron, Boss Morris, Nick Gaughan, Mike Hastings, Gift Horse, Rev Magnetic
Dedicated to the eternal youth of Sidney Chick, Eugene Jackson and Erik Spring
Nice pop balladry with a folk influence. My first thought upon hearing this was "female Paul McCartney" but it is probably aiming for Sandy Denny territory. Lavinia was in psychedelic folk band Trembling Bells. Art Fin