Acclaimed Cardiff duo No Thee No Ess return with their eagerly anticipated new album, California.
California marks the first new release from No Thee No Ess since 2016’s acclaimed The Silver Stream. The album sees the Cardiff-based duo of Andy Fung (Dererro, Cymbient) and Paul Battenbough (The Cosmic Array, King of Despair) continuing to explore their uniquely unstructured collaboration, fusing timeless song-craft with intricate harmonies, spur-of-the-moment lyricism, indelible melody, and improvisational adventurousness. Songs like Florid Peaks and the expansive title track are lit from within by the audacious spirit of the Golden State, inspired in part by Laurel Canyon folk rock, SF psych, Bakersfield country, and NorCal indie rock but made complete via No Thee No Ess’ own immersive, idiosyncratic approach.
“I’ve never been there but our whole creative vision really owes a debt to the music, art and general vibe of California,” says Fung. “Bands like Grandaddy and Neil Young and the Grateful Dead have directly influenced our sound and approach to songwriting.”
“Wales is a bit like California on the coast,” says Battenbough, “though to my mind Wales is slightly better. I was there in 1978, learning to swim in motel pools to a backdrop of gunfire and murder. Downtown LA was a dystopian nightmare of a place, burning cars in the dark on street corners; I’d never been to such a dangerous place. California is a beautiful sounding word though and I think a good title for us considering its incredible influence.”
California was produced and recorded by No Thee No Ess at their own Surk Studio in Cardiff; the album was mixed by Ali Chant (Gruff Rhys, Perfume Genius, Giant Sand) at Bristol’s Toybox Studio.
No Thee No Ess united in 2008, bringing together two of Cardiff’s most unique musicians and visual artists, both known for infusing psychedelic influence into their painting and recorded body of work. Then as now, the goal was to create original music in as organic a fashion as possible, writing and recording instinctively, with limited takes and minimal ego. No Thee No Ess has since earned ecstatic international acclaim, with BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens hailing the duo’s “beautiful melodies and wonderfully orchestrated arrangements.” No Depression declared 2013’s Spring Dawn Glow to be “deliciously funny and imaginatively rich…a perfect work of art on every level,” further praising Fung and Battenbough’s “incredibly clever songwriting” and “beautiful and expressive vocal charm.”