room on an industrial estate in Reading to a wooden cabin on a former hippy commune nearSwansea.“We hadto take drastic action to meet our deadline,” says Matt. “Turning our phones off was key. Without our phones, we were far more focussed and creative. It was incrediblehow much happier we werewithout them.”The fourfell in to a routine of afternoons on the beach and exploring nearby caves –see Future Dust’sstrikingartwork–andevenings spent drinking whisky,playing cardsand blaring classic Fleetwood Mac and the Stones on the stereo, before workingthrough the night on the basic gear they’d brought with them. In two weeks, therest of the albumwas written, including scorching second single Doubt It.“Doubt It we wrote one night after listening to T. Rex,” says Joe. “It’s a fun one that really captures the spirit of the adventure we were on. That’s just us doing the falsettobacking vocals. There’s a lot more of allfour of us singing on this album, almost on every track.”Doubt It is about a romantic encounter, or as Matt more crudely puts it –“It’s about that moment when it’s either going to happen or it’s not, if you catch my drift,” he says. “It’s quite sparse and sinister, until the crazy backing vocals kick in. I can’t wait to hear the guys do them live.”Having demoed Future Dust back in Reading, The Amazonsreturned to Wales for recording at Monnow Valleywith their mate Catherine Marks, 2018’s Producer of the Year (Wolf Alice, The Wombats, PJ Harvey), who also made their debut.
During an eventful three weeks recording, Joe’s partner gave birth to twins back home and Chris lost the top of his left index finger chopping spring onions, forcing himto invent a new way to play his guitar parts. Oh,and there were fierce arguments, lots of them.“All of us were stressed, particularly Joe as a new father, but mostly because we are so passionate about this album,” says Matt. “Our souls are in these songs. Plus Catherine pushed us hard. With our debut, she was very much ‘Just do it, get it out there’. This one meant so much more.”As ever, the lyrics were left to last, although themes had formed at The Amazons’ beach-side retreat, notably the toll that our ever-connected age is takingon mental health.“Being on your phone all the time makes you feel shit,” says Matt. “We’re not a political band and I’ve never felt the need to write about wider issues, but this is personal to me. A lot of my relationships are conducted over the phone. I’m on social media. All of the lyrics springfrom personal experiences, but they chip in to the wider world.”The boisterous Dark Visions deals withdepression, the bluesy Warning Sign is a plea to a friend on a path to self-destruction and the glorious, grinding Fuzzy Tree is about blurting something out to a partnerand not being able to take it back.“Therearen’ta lot of love songs,” says Matt. “Most areabout fucking up. Or confusion. 25 I wrote two months before I turned 25, to try to work out where I am inlife. The songmimics the confusion that I constantly feel, that everyone my age feels. Are we all narcissists or arewe really switched on?”25 appears twice on Future Dust, in vastly different form. The frantic first version boasts drums inspired by Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life. The second, which opens with gorgeous pump organ recorded at Monnow valley on the band’sfinal night in the studio, beautifullystrips the song down and changesthe lyrics to make them more optimistic.The majestic, arms-aloftAll Over Town deals with modern-day dating.“It’s destructive,” says Matt. “I goon dates and find everyone, including myself, looking for thenext best thing. When my parents met, they weren’t beingbombarded by the world’s most beautiful people on theirphones every day. Why can’t we see what’sin front of us?The answer is here, not elsewhere.“I’m not offering solutions. I don’t have them, but these are issues affecting me and my friends, which is why I wrote about them. The lessonwe learnt making this album was to turn off our phones more often. Oh,and that it is possible to be shit at hand claps. Who knew?”