IF Hollywood is ever looking to make another band-themed movie then film producers could do worse than to look at Artery.
The Sheffield veterans this week released a new album more than two decades since their last major output. And it almost didn’t happen.
Civilisation follows their reunion in unlikely circumstances – when Jarvis Cocker asked them to join his Meltdown festival line-up in London 22 years after they split – and then personnel changes that almost brought a new split.
Instead, the result is a dramatic, broodingly prophetic album with sounds and words filtered through a generation of growing up.
“I think this is the best work I’ve ever done, from a lyrical perspective,” says singer Mark Gouldthorpe, pictured right.
“If you look back to the younger days, going back 25 years, my head was in a different place. There was a certain element of naivety to some stuff, which had a charm about it.
“You can see and feel the life experience in the new stuff, because obviously I’m a bit older and you’ve got a more grounded view of the world.
“You remain more or less the same but from a writing perspective you do mature and the way you deliver what you’re doing. And the performance vocally is far superior to the earlier stuff, in my opinion.”
Civilisation is also an album that has clearly had time devoted to it. Although it’ll never win awards for joy it brims with sounds and structures drawn from playing experience rather than being fad led.
While flavours of Joy Division, early days The Cure, The Mission, even Sisters Of Mercy waft, a combination of Mark’s authoritative vocal style and a near epic production triumph in something truly distinctive.
“We spent a year recording it so it’s had plenty of time and loving care rather than us just stuck in a studio for a month watching the clock,” says Mark.
“Having taken 20 years to get round to making another record it would have been daft to rush.”
Key to the veneer and depth is James Bacon – formerly of ’90s Sheffield duo Mindfeel with Simon Hinkler – who replaced David Hinkler on keyboards, also bringing studio recording and engineering ability.
“The way James recorded me, he didn’t use any effects. That made me work harder for the tuning, the expression.
“But I had a hunger for this as well. I really wanted to get this finished having skated so close to the edge of nearly splitting when David left. Murray (Fenton, guitar/percussion) would have been highly disappointed with life had we not got this album done.”
Civilisation takes its title from a song on the record, which itself exhibits a ‘concept’, albeit unplanned.
“When we’d got all the songs together, when I looked at them lyrically, it occurred to me there’s a kind of theme running through the album.
“It’s looking at humanity, people, behaviour and we decided there is a loose concept. A couple of people who have heard it asked when did I write it because it’s almost like a prophecy, on the way society and the world is going, the economy.
“There’s nothing else out there like this. You can hear the era of the way we write, bands like Joy Division etc, but it’s very much its own. There’s always some underlying message I’m trying to get out. It’s at the right time.”
Artery launch Civilisation with a show at Corporation on Saturday. In the meantime, for a free album taster go to facebook.com/l/uAQA04bw-/www.originalpenguin.eu/new-blood/