Luke Sital-Singh Announces Release of A GOLDEN STATE
Luke Sital-Singh will release his third album, A Golden State on April 5th on Raygun Records via The Orchard. The album was announced today when BlackBook debuted the video for pseudo title track "Los Angeles", and as Luke and his wife Hannah leave Bristol for California.
The title of the new album reflects that new chapter, and a new mindset. At its most basic, it's an album of California dreaming, the cover artwork, created by Hannah, a four-colour lino cut of the Venice Beach canals, taken from her upcoming art book, Coastline. The songs therein reflect the album title, too.
"My wife has wanted to move to California for years, but I've always been a bit more cautious," says Luke. "Writing this song crystallized my enthusiasm for moving there. It's probably the most honest and open song on the album. There's no metaphor or characters. It's me and Hannah, let's move to America, I'm scared, you're not scared, so stay close, 'cause I'm gonna freak out along the way."
"State of mind... what a state...." Sital-Singh muses. "But overall, there is this ethereal, positive vibe - without being too cheesy. There is an Americana fantasy, of wanting to escape to this gorgeous place - but also about what I'm escaping from.
A Golden State was produced by Tommy McLaughlin (Villagers, Soak), who also produced Luke's last album, 2017's Time Is A Riddle, and recorded in Portland's Jackpot Studios, famously set up by Elliott Smith, where alumni include R.E.M., Stephen Malkmus, and The Decemberists.
In April 2018, Luke was invited to give a TED Talk at the official TED conference in Vancouver. Luke spoke about the cathartic effect of writing and performing 'sad' songs, and performed two tracks. The event proved the catalyst for Luke to finish set of the songs he'd been slowly, painfully writing for the new album. A Golden State he says has been the most difficult of his three albums to write. "Even though I think I say that every time," he admits, convinced he also said it about his 2014 debut The Fire Inside. "But this one did seem to take absolutely forever."
Luke and Tommy headed to Portland in August 2018, and where joined in the studio by a small group of musicians including the drummer from Villagers, James Byrne, and The Lumineers touring keyboardist Stelth Ulvang. Whereas the last album was largely recorded live, A Golden State was the opposite.
"We wanted it to be big and warming," says Luke. "So we used vintage ribbon mics, which give this really smoky, husky sound. The vocal was the most important thing, I wanted it to feel like it was jumping out the speaker."
Opening track "Lover" is an enveloping embrace of a song written after he undertook a road trip along the California coast with his wife, illustrator Hannah Cousins. "It was a beautiful journey, but there was quite a lot of bickering," says Luke. "I write my work about the bickering, she does hers about the amazing scenery!"
"Raise Well" is equally intimate and telling, a song about potential fatherhood. "I'm not having a kid, but I think about it a lot. We've been married for so long, we've got a groove going, but this is the point where you buy a house... have a kid... or move to America."
The desire for change is also impregnated in "Love Is Hard Enough Without The Winter", the second single from A Golden State, it's a skeletal, delicate blues reflecting on emotional wanderlust. "It's a song about yearning for something a bit sunnier in these cold winter months," he says. "Yearning for more light, for that thing that keeps a relationship lit."
Then there's "The Last Day", the unbearably poignant lead single, which has already had much love at radio and is not so much about death as the anticipation thereof. "This is the thing: I do seem to write a lot about loss and mourning. I'm... not obsessed," he decides, "but it seems to move me, the idea of dying."
Of the album, Luke concludes, "Overall, there is this ethereal, positive vibe - without being too cheesy. There is an Americana fantasy, of wanting to escape to this gorgeous place - but also about what I'm escaping from."
Luke will be performing his first hometown show in California at The Moroccan Lounge in LA on Feb 6 as a special guest for Dan Croll. Tix can be found HERE.