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4th Jul, 2022

Music: Still Corners hypnotise and dazzle on dreamy new album / Japan announce Quiet Life reissue

James Iles 22nd Jan, 2021

Still Corners ‘The Last Exit’

Available January 22 / Wrecking Light Records

BACK with their fifth album, transatlantic dream pop duo Still Corners ride triumphantly over the vast horizon on this delightful slice of desert noir with ‘The Last Exit’.

The title track, also their current single, charts the course for this eleven track collection of gorgeously crafted songs, organically yet precisely created by the perfect pairing of multi-instrumentalist Texan son Greg Hughes and the smoky crooning of English vocalist Tessa Murray, whose keys add a bonus smattering of synth pads.

‘The Last Exit’ is a hypnotic journey from start to finish with steel slide guitars punctuating the spacious sonics, conjuring images of epic travels, wide expanses and ram-shackled dusty towns along the way.

“We found something out there in the desert,” says Greg.

“Something in the vast landscapes that went on forever.”

‘Crying’, a single from last year, continues the early chilled vibe on this LP’s lonely highway with destination unknown, before the pace gallops briefly for the catchy ‘White Sands’, surely a future single too. ‘Mystery Road’ and ‘Shifting Dunes’ also rank among the many highlights.

Like most creatives, this album was brought into sharp focus by the pandemic when almost everything came to a halt, says singer Tessa, whose vocal harmonies add an orchestral presence to the recording.

“There’s always something at the end of the road and for us it was this album,” she said.

“We thought the album was finished but with the crisis found new inspiration and started writing again.” The songs ‘Crying’, ‘Static’ and ‘Till We Meet Again’ were borne out of the impact of isolation and the need for social contact and intimacy.

The sharp-eared among you will recognise the sound of Still Corners from the subliminal use of their music in TV shows such as Made in Chelsea, as well as many movies.

Murray’s vocals inevitably draw comparisons to Lana Del Ray, while the sound is, at times, reminiscent of anything from Cigarettes After Sex to Chris Isaak or even the early (and arguably better) days of Coldplay – to give new pilgrims a simpler idea of the quality of this great album. And none of those similarities can be a bad thing.

‘The Last Exit’ shimmers and dazzles, taking you on a dreamy escape to the freedom of wide open plains we can only currently dream of, but the quality of songwriting is good enough to make it a path worth exploring in any case.

James Iles

Here comes the Quiet Life again…

JAPAN will reissue their era-defining third album ‘Quiet Life’ on March 5 across a number of formats, including a deluxe box set.

The 1979 album (issued a few weeks late, in January 1980, in the UK) was the final album on Hansa Records and became a forerunner for the alternative/new wave sound of the new decade.

The single ‘Quiet Life’ reached number 19 in the UK, but almost two years after the album (having originally been a B-side for non-album single ‘I Second That Emotion’).

The Quiet Life album was a creative, rather than commercial success and Japan singles only started to chart once Gentlemen Take Polaroids and Tin Drum (both issued on Virgin in 1981 and 1982 respectively) raised the band’s profile.

The Quiet Life box features three CDs and a 180g half-speed mastered vinyl LP.

Pre-ordering the box set from the official Japan store will add an additional nine-track CD single full of original remixes of ‘Life in Tokyo’, only two of which are included in the box itself.

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