Secret Measure Cloth
- 1Secret Measure04:11
- 3Never Know05:04
- 9Money Plant05:30
- 10Blue Space03:50
Info for Secret Measure
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Cloth’s debut album was its fabric. The musical project of Rachael and Paul Swinton, their 2019 self-titled LP was the culmination of the pair’s musical journey, a multitude of home-recorded phone notes shaped into exquisite guitar-pop songs that were celebrated both in Scotland and further afield. It was also a process that was deliberately safe and insular, the twin-sibling pair having spent years working creatively together, alone, honing a musical language that grew into something both fascinating and unique.
Having explored this way of working to its full potential, both on that debut album and the four-song Low Sun EP - the band’s first release via their new home of Rock Action Records (Mogwai, Arab Strap, The Twilight Sad) - Rachael and Paul turned their tried-and-trusted approach on its head. First they stepped out of the bedroom, building their own studio where new ideas would have the time and space to flourish in their own right, and then by opening themselves to outside influence for the first time, working with producer Ali Chant (Yard Act, Katy J Pearson, Squirrel Flower) for their new LP, released in early 2023.
The result is Secret Measure, an adventurous next step, consisting of ten brand-new recordings that make for a markedly enthralling leap forward. Sketched out in their Glasgow studio in the early months of 2022, Cloth then stepped out of their comfort zone, travelling to Chant’s Bristol studio to complete the album. “We've never worked with someone in a traditional producer role before, and we wanted to try something totally different from what we've done in the past,” Paul explains of the process. “It was about being more open to the idea of risk-taking compared to our previous work that has been more careful and meticulous”
Produced by Ali Chant, who has worked with the likes of Yard Act, Katy J Pearson, and Squirrel Flower, it seems this record has been Cloth’s chance to progress to a fuller sound that they were always capable of. The ultra-precise production makes you stand to attention instantly, with the opening title track, Secret Measure, genuinely making me freeze in awe upon first listen. A rumbling bass booms through staccato guitar riffs and free-floating vocals that could easily lead me to comparing these two talents to their roster mates and label owners, Mogwai, but Cloth stand tall in their own right. This is new, uncharted territory that they seem to have nailed from the get-go.
Fuzzy synth melodies play out through the wonderfully minimal Never Know, nudging at its post-rock atmosphere with a breathy, Slowdive quality. Rachael’s gentle yet affirming vocals shine through on Lido, nestled next to rousing drums and a delicate horn section. Early The xx comes to mind on this one, and would be right at home on the record player at a party, or on your headphones walking home from a too-late night out. Another has an almost R&B chorus that brings texture and brightness, alongside the discordance between palm-muted guitar and drums that highlights the strength of their songwriting. However, it’s Drips that comes steeped in dreamy textures and electronic elements, almost drip-dropping through the song structure in a delicate haze.
We’ve probably said it before, but we’re honoured to be collaborating with Cloth once more in what will no doubt be a dazzling career. Cloth are ready to show you what they’ve got, in no half measures.
Gracing the stages of taste-making festivals Latitude and Connect, and being featured on the soundtrack for Hulu’s hit ‘Normal People’, Cloth are a Glasgow two-piece comprising twins Rachael and Paul Swinton.
With their debut album shortlisted for the 2020 SAY Award and enjoying committed support from Elbow’s Guy Garvey, BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson and BBC Introducing (among many others), the band are set to release their hotly anticipated follow-up album, Secret Measure, in May 2023 via Mogwai’s Rock Action Records.
Produced by Ali Chant (Yard Act, Katy J Pearson), Secret Measure’s 10 meticulously crafted tracks represent a seismic step forward for the band both musically and artistically. As Rachael explains, “we wanted to craft something that sounded huge, leaning into more pop-y influences whilst retaining that sense of intimacy that colours a lot of our music.”
Both bigger in scope and more emotionally direct, Secret Measure “explores the idea of reassurance and learning to accept that, whatever life is throwing at you, things will most likely turn out okay” says Paul. “It’s a hopeful collection of songs exploring the journey from doubt and anxiety to a place where you can sit comfortably with the unknown and know that, whatever you’re feeling, it won’t feel like that forever.”
With a dark, enigmatic music video shot in the dead of night by Bristol’s Clump Collective (Divorce, Katy J Pearson), second single ‘Never Know’ is out now.
Secret Measure arrives 5th May, 2023 via Rock Action.
This album contains no booklet.