New Religion Starter Kit
BEN CORNWELL reviews The Beautiful Revolution’s debut album, New Religion Starter Kit.
Listening to The Beautiful Revolution’s album for the first time was a unique experience for me, as I struggled to pin down a specific genre for the music. iTunes describes the music as ‘alternative’ which in some ways is rather fitting but, I would argue, an oversimplification. As the album progresses, the songs venture into different styles, from the uplifting The Sun Always Rises to the slower ballad-like Once Again.
Band members Craig Lappin and Sam Burnett met in the late 1970s when Lappin joined Burnett with mod band, Back to Zero. Since then, their lives have gone in different directions musically. Craig decided to take a step back from performing and had not written any lyrics for around thirty years after leaving the music business for academia and teaching. Sam, meanwhile, continued his lifetime dedication to music, spending hours in his studio and playing with several bands, whilst also a music technician for a school near Watford.
Album Cover by Oska Lappin
During lockdown they were contacted by someone who had found some of their old demo tapes from the 80s and was interested in releasing them on a revival label. The grey-haired English teacher didn’t reveal the identity of the mysterious individual, instead he decided to play coy – leaning back on his chair and taking a sip of his beer.
This conversation reignited regular contact between the pair and resulted in further discussion about creating music again. Titled after the oil painting by Craig’s wife – the massively talented Hastings’ artist, Oska Lappin and featured on the cover, the artwork is very tongue-in-cheek. It features The Flash and Lady Gaga accompanied by two lambs – perhaps suggesting what is required to create a new religion in 2021,
Lead vocalist Lappin describes his colleague Burnett as a “real musical powerhouse”. He plays guitar and keyboard, does backing vocals and spent a lot of time in his studio handling the programming and production side of the album.
Craig believes that whilst he is influenced by his idols Lou Reed and David Bowie, his song-writing inspiration comes from his love of poetry. In the song, The Sun Always Rises, the repeated phrase “stasis in darkness” is taken from Sylvia Plath’s famous poem, Ariel. The single was released back in June to tie in with the start of the Euros footballing competition. The lyrics convey optimism and hope for the future, feelings experienced by many England fans during the tournament. The track is arguably the catchiest song on the album with its upbeat tempo and guitar riff – the chorus created an earworm so potent that I haven’t been able to stop singing since hearing it.
Every performer has the ambition to play in front of an audience. But Craig can’t imagine himself doing regular gigs in the future. He jokes that if they did go on tour, The Beautiful Revolution would be one of the oldest gigging bands in the world (except for The Rolling Stones, who would think of them as youngsters).
• Physical copies of the album are available to buy on the band’s website for £8.99, with a digital copy of the
album expected to be released before Christmas.
• If you would like to find out more or buy an album visit www.beautiful-revolution.net
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