With a name like Strawhouses and bizarre pig-riddled artwork, you might mistake ‘Malaise’ for a rural lament to the Bluegrass broken-hearted. Instead, the newly-released indie single hits you with a sound that is energetic, frustrated and positively industrial.
While the name refers to life’s fragility, this debut indicates that it might take more than a huff of wind to blow Strawhouses in. ‘Malaise’ comes hot off the band’s album recorded with producer Jon Withnall who has worked with the likes of Coldplay and Feeder.
Dressed in the Dark caught up with the Liverpool band’s singer and songwriter, Paul Donnelly to get the dirt on the relative newcomers.
Dressed in the Dark: What’s ‘Malaise’ all about?
Paul Donnelly:It was so raw for me. It’s a lot about how I’ve struggled to fit in with the real world and relationships and all that. I was in a relationship at the time and the way its collapse seemed to happen just poured out of me. It was one of those really cool moments, actually. Even though it was emotionally charged, it was a triumph to write that song. At least that came out of it.
Video by Dave Harry, Red Union Films
DitD: How did the band get together?
PD: I really need to make up something interesting enough like that we met on Lonely Hearts and my guitarist decided we should make a band after being on a few dates or we met at a fetish convention.
DitD: What inspires you to write?
PD: I find language very interesting. People’s turns of phrase set off bells and I just have to write it down.
DitD: Is there message to your music?
PD: There’s a tenseness I feel sort of globally and certainly in the UK that can’t help but pervade the music I write. I don’t necessarily write about individual events that happen in the world. It’s just a general feeling that seeps into songs. Fragility and uncertainty are carried into all of the songs. I never try to be judgemental in any of the songs but it’s just the way that I see it.