Alabama’s St. Paul & The Broken Bones is back with a sophomore slab of retro-soul on Sea of Noise.
The eight-piece band says the album is more reflective of its tastes than its debut, Half the City, and depends less on belting from lead singer Paul Janeway and more on incorporating his voice into the arrangements, according to a Wall Street Journal interview with Janeway and bassist Jesse Phillips.
As they spoke, Phillips expanded on one particular track, “I’ll Be Your Woman,” which started off as an acoustic-leaning Bill Withers-style number.
“Paul had this idea that he could turn gender roles on their head a little bit. So we decided, with that in mind, that we would have to darken up the textures a bit. You know the song by William Bell, ‘I Forgot to Be Your Lover’? That’s one of the band’s favorite songs of all time—definitely in the top five. The way that song moves, and the way the string parts help give it lift and levity … We wanted to do something like that, but we didn’t really know how. We got put in touch with Lester Snell [known for Stax Records sessions by Isaac Hayes, Shirley Brown and others], who is a master strings-arranger in Memphis. He got ahold of the song and came up with a super-cool arrangement. We went to [Sam] Phillips [Recording] in Memphis, and it was one of the last things we did … I was listening to them record it, in the control room, and it felt like something entirely different, and new. It was like, ‘holy cow! We made that!’”
Here’s something else the band made – the Sea of Noise track, “All I Ever Wonder”:
Sea of Noise Track List:
- Crumbling Light Posts, Pt. 1
- Flow with It (You Got Me Feeling Like)
- Midnight on the Earth
- I’ll Be Your Woman
- All I Ever Wonder
- Crumbling Light Posts, Pt. 2
- Brain Matter
- Burning Rome
- Tears in the Diamond
- Is It Me
- Crumbling Light Posts, Pt. 3