[2015.05.14] Tom Hollingworth, for NARC Magazine.
For many, Meghann Clancy’s beautiful voice has blessed many memorable bills at venues around the North-East, sometimes singing harmonies as part of The Shoeshop Quartet, and at other times adding to the grooves of Peculiar Disco Moves. It is performing her own material, though, where Clancy comes into her own, using the pop song as a stage for her spirit. In 2012, she released her debut album ‘Take Flight’ which was full of unapologetic expressions and soaring melodies.
Following up from that album, Clancy has now recorded a new EP, Lay It On The Line and recently we got to ask her about this new set of songs. As the first track Off Limits starts with its pulsing minor harmonies and tempestuous vocal, the sound has a noticeably punchier production than any of the songs on ‘Take Flight,’ though Clancy is once again teaming up with Liam Gaughan in the studio.“The way we approached recording was very different this time around. I brought the songs in to Liam and Danny Ward (who plays drums on the record), and we worked on them together as a band, before recording together at Blast Studios. The experience of playing together kept the energy of the tracks going, whereas for Take Flight everything was recorded very separately.” As Ward and Gaughan underlay each song with a tight rhythm section, Clancy herself adds colour with tasteful backing harmonies, and additional piano, guitar and mandolin parts. “I had the instrumentation in mind already, and once we came together it was just a case of getting the right feel for the song as a band. Everyone contributed their own parts.”
Romantic dilemmas remain at the centre of Clancy’s songwriting, and, along with vocal melodic inflections, reveal her Americana and pop influences. “I grew up listening to a lot of pop music, and still do. I love the challenge of trying to condense the message of the song right down to fit into a verse/chorus, 3 minute song (not that I necessarily stick to that as a rule, it depends what the song needs).” Here To Stay is a prime example, telling the story of someone finding the bravery to share their romantic feelings. Clancy recalled a unique time she had playing this ballad at the The Polite Room in the Tyneside Cinema. “Someone actually came up to me afterwards and told me they were in love with their best friend, and had motivated them to express their true feelings. I hope things worked out for him. I had never thought of one of my songs having such an impact on someone, but it was really nice to hear that it had.”
The closing track, Blah Blah Blah, reveals Clancy’s more playful side, taking an amusing poke at narcissism, recalling the likes of Carly Simon’s ‘You’re so vein.’ The central character of this acoustic oom-pah Clancy explains, “was inspired by a particular event with one person, but it is an amalgamation of people really. I think everyone knows someone like that, who is pretty self involved, or always has to bring a level of one-upmanship into things!”
Meghann Clancy will be launching Lay It On The Line at The Cumberland Arms on 31st May, and the EP will be available for everyone else the morning after.