Fred Deakin of Lemon Jel­ly has released a new work – a dou­ble con­cept album telling a Dystopi­an tale of The Lasters, Earth’s final fam­i­ly, after cli­mate change has wreaked hav­oc and the plan­et is on the brink of extinc­tion. The nar­ra­tion fol­lows the fam­i­ly’s jour­ney – in par­tic­u­lar that of the moth­er and daugh­ter. It is a dra­mat­ic tale which is revealed over the course of the four sides of the album. The unfold­ing nar­ra­tive involves a civ­il war and and the Lasters fam­i­ly torn apart – but at its heart, as Deakin explains after­wards, what inter­est­ed him was the effects on the fam­i­ly, con­se­quent­ly this is very human tale of the bonds that exist between par­ent and child.

the intimate space, st mary's church tower
St Mary’s Church Tower

In order to launch this new baby out into the world, the prodi­gious­ly tal­ent­ed Deakin (he’s a Uni­ver­si­ty Pro­fes­sor of Dig­i­tal Arts, mul­ti-media artist, musi­cian, DJ, per­former) cre­at­ed four lis­ten­ing par­ties over the first week­end of May. I attend­ed the first one, an occa­sion we as audi­ence felt hon­oured to share, the packed room falling silent as the nee­dle was cer­e­mo­ni­ous­ly dropped onto the first test press­ing of the album. Deakin explained the story’s pro­gres­sion as each side of the album came to a close; for­tu­nate­ly, he tells me after­wards, the nar­ra­tive will be ful­ly explained on the album cov­er, as there’s a lot to take in.

I must men­tion the venue: Deakin had cho­sen The Inti­mate Space at St Mary’s Church Tow­er – the small­est venue in the coun­try. Well, that’s its claim any­way. Pic­ture a north Lon­don street where sud­den­ly, set back from the road amongst trees, gar­dens and green­ery, illu­mi­nat­ed some­what creep­i­ly by green lights, an ancient stone church tow­er stands. Enter, and you find your­self in a cosy, wel­com­ing and beau­ti­ful space with a goth­ic arch and tall win­dows. Atmos­pher­ic and, no sur­prise here, with great acoustics.

Fred Deakin of Lemon Jelly

The choice of venue all starts to make sense when Deak­in’s accom­pa­ny­ing art­works are revealed, a set of intri­cate­ly con­struct­ed light­box­es, rem­i­nis­cent of church stained glass win­dows. There’s a trip­tych of light­box­es placed under the church win­dow (see main pho­to). These three pic­tures reveal The Lasters’ unfold­ing nar­ra­tive, and they are cap­ti­vat­ing. Apart from their beau­ty, they pos­sess an amaz­ing­ly rich tex­tur­al qual­i­ty; one fea­tures clouds that are iri­des­cent­ly mir­rored, anoth­er con­tains a sec­tion which resem­bles gran­ite, rich with spark­ly chunks. These light­box images will fea­ture on the album cov­er which, although still in pro­to­type form, will be a true vinyl lover’s dream with gate­fold and, it is pro­posed, var­i­ous popups.

There are four vocal­ists on the album – Abi Sin­clair, Char­lotte Hather­ley, Stef­fan Huw Davies and Deakin – all play­ing mem­bers of the Laster fam­i­ly – but it is the female voic­es that stand out, express­ing the tur­moil of their flight from Earth.

Deakin and Har­ry – the pro­duc­er, who is at the lis­ten­ing par­ty – have cre­at­ed an ambi­tious dra­mat­ic and mov­ing sto­ry in which you can ful­ly immerse your­self (and hear all the lyrics) over the two albums worth of mem­o­rable songs. The End of the World is par­tic­u­lar­ly pow­er­ful – a plain­tive and chill­ing bal­lad. The unfold­ing dra­ma is replete with raw emo­tion, expressed by the haunt­ing vocals which stay with me long after the evening is over.

Pre order the lim­it­ed edi­tion vinyl album, T shirts and var­i­ous oth­er treats here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *