‘CHAMBER pop’ outfit the The Miserable Rich earned critical plaudits last year with the release of their third album, Miss You In The Days.
The Brighton five-piece are re-releasing the ghostly-themed record, together with three previously unheard tracks, and visit the Midlands as part of a 12-date spring tour.
Fresh from a European jaunt, guitarist Ricky Pritchard spoke to Mail reporter TIM FLETCHER.
THE concept album is a much-maligned format, provokingmemories of the bloated excesses of the 1970s prog rock era.
So does Miss You In The Days, the third album from Brighton quintet The Miserable Rich, released last Hallow’een and boasting 11 ghostly-themed tracks, fall into that category?
“You could argue it’s a concept album because the whole album has a concept to it but when I hear the words ‘concept album’ I think of something like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon,” says Ricky Pritchard, the band’s guitarist, pianist and backing vocalist.
“Lyrically the songs are themed around possession, sex and spirits from beyond the grave, but that was just the starting point for the canvas and there’s no particular narrative or connection between the songs other than the lyrics.”
The band are set to re-release the album with three previously unheard tracks, which will also appear on a limited edition EP, recorded during the album sessions at Blickling Hall, in Norfolk.
“When we recorded the album, part of the idea was to record more material than we were going to put on the album, because it gives you a bit more control,” says Pritchard.
“We had three or four tracks left over with the same ghostly theme, and the re-released album and EP are just ways of giving the album another push and saying thank you to fans by giving them something new and interesting.”
The band have links to the Wilkommen Collective of musicians, including two — The Leisure Society and The Sons Of Noel And Adrian — with Burton-born members.
Currently tentatively working on material for a new album, they have moved on since the days when the bulk of the songwriting was provided by their aristocratically-named frontman James De Malplaquet.
“The first album was all James but it’s becoming more collaborative,” says Pritchard. “Normally someone will come up with a starting point for a song, a chorus, melodic idea or guitar riff, and we work together to flesh it out.”
Pritchard, who combines Miserable Rich duties with his role as a jobbing session guitarist, says the band’s intricately layered, string-laden sound presents a challenge when it comes to translating it to a live arena.
“It’s something I’ve worried about on occasions when we’ve been in the studio and I’ve thought, there’s only six of us (with their touring drummer)—how are we going to do it?
“But I’ve always viewed it as two necessarily different outputs and I don’t think the album should be limited so it can be perfectly created live. I like the fact that it sounds a bit different live.”
So can the band’s nuanced sound ever earn them mainstream acceptance or are they destined to be viewed as a cult attraction.
“That’s a question I ask myself every day,” says Pritchard. “Would we like to break through with all the things that come with that, playing to wider audiences and having the security to carry on doing what we love?
“Of course we would. We want the band to be as well-known as possible and I don’t think ours is an uncommercial sound. It’s pop music, but tinged with so many different influences that it may be a bit more challenging.
“There seems to be a definite trend of more traditional instrument-based music becoming popular so I don’t think it necessarily has to be a niche thing.”
That said, the band’s fans could be surprised by a more upbeat, sunnier theme to their music when their next album surfaces, probably some time next year.
“The theme of the next album is to try and make a happier, more positive album,” says Pritchard.
“We have a lot of songs which are quite happy musically but perhaps the lyrical message is darker and more macabre, so we’re trying to flip that round and do something genuinely happy, a slightly more summery sounding album.”
The Miserable Rich re-release their album, Miss You In The Days, with three new tracks, onMay 7, while the extra tracks, along with forthcoming single Under Glass, appear on a limited edition EP, Miss You More, which will also be available online via iTunes.
The band head out on a 12-date UK tour in April and May, calling at The Musician, in Leicester, on Sunday, April 22. Tickets, priced £7, are available online at www.wegottickets.co.uk.