There’s nothing hard or heavy about The Granite Shore but, as the name suggests, they are statuesque and stately, and their debut LP chisels out a monument to the Life of the Rock Group.
Emerging from the fevered imagination of Occultation supremo Nick Halliwell, The Granite Shore have so far issued singles with a revolving cast of legends and friends. A debut 10" with backing from Liverpool’s Wild Swans was followed by a 7” featuring Phil Wilson (June Brides), Arash Torabi (June Brides/Distractions) and Probyn Gregory (Brian Wilson/Arthur Lee/Wondermints), all of whom return for Once More From The Top, joined by Mike Kellie (Spooky Tooth/Only Ones/Distractions), Steve Perrin and Mike Finney (Distractions) and Martin Bramah (The Fall/Blue Orchids/Factory Star).
The roll call shows these luminaries’ huge respect for the Halliwell songbook. Steeped in literature and with an elf-free narrative concept, these musical tragi-dramas decked out in sweeping, epic arrangements hint slyly at late ’60s/early ’70s progressive music and indeed, fans of ’70s pastoralists will grasp the ambitious sentiments and mournful Englishness of Once More From The Top, albeit there’s a lyrical realism that’s recurred in British music ever since.
“I’m wondering how much to talk about the conceptual side of things,” Nick continues, discussing changing attitudes to recorded sound in the Spotify era, a subject tackled on the album. “There was no need when most people only had access to a limited number of records and spent time with them, thinking about the contents. Now anyone can hear every record ever made”.
This album needs to be heard a few times to make sense, but should then appeal to anyone who’s lived and breathed music. “Whilst writing, I began connecting songs both musically and lyrically,” says Nick discussing how this bespoke product grew out of a 10-track LP. “I decided on quite distinct LP and CD sleeves, each offering a different slant on the record. It then struck me that, as the album closes with ‘Be that as it may’ a song in dialogue, I should write further scenes to be published alongside the record as an illustrated book. We’re also working on video content to flesh out the visual side…”
Forget multimedia, this is a genuinely multifaceted project which is still growing, a multitude of artistic concepts in one.