‘Think I’m Alright Now’ is the quietly hopeful song from Curse of Lono’s upcoming People In Cars LP
People in Cars LP will be out November 26th via Submarine Cat Records
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When you’ve lost your band, your dad, your uncle and your ex-partner in the space of one horrific year, it’s understandable that you’d turn back to hard drugs. For Curse Of Lono’s Felix Bechtolsheimer, thankfully, the relapse was merely thematic. It’s been twenty years since he flew back to London from a government funded experiment into opioid addiction in a German psychiatric hospital, wearing five years of heroin dependency in vomit down his shirt, it took half an hour to find a vein for one last hit and then it was off to Florida to spend a year with his alcoholic uncle, getting clean. He hasn’t touched the stuff ever since but even now, in his darkest moments, it seeps into his words.
It’s those memories and the distance that Bechtolsheimer has forged between them that have shaped Curse of Lono’s third studio album, People In Cars. Following on from the record’s first single ‘Let Your Love Rain Down On Me’, the worldly songwriter is sharing sophomore track ‘Think I’m Alright Now’, a moment of restrained hope amongst a sea of recent challenges: the pandemic, loss of his father after a long illness, the sudden death of an ex-partner.
Reflecting on these near-impossible circumstances, Felix Bechtolsheimer shares that “I lost my dad, my uncle and my ex-partner last year, and my band, but I’ve got this record and I almost look at it like a bit of a shrine.”
Curse Of Lono’s debut album was called Severed because “I was trying to sever my [thematic] writing relationship with heroin. I made a very conscious decision, ‘I'm not talking about this anymore, I need to write about other stuff’.” On As I Fell he branched out to sing about wider topics, such as his grandfather’s experiences as a half-Jewish boy growing up in Nazi Germany and being caught up in a train crash in Leuven in Belgium in 1954. “I wanted to recreate this train crash with the instrumental orchestra music at the end.”
As Curse Of Lono’s future grew brighter - playing tours with Steve Earle, Chuck Prophet and David Ramirez hitting the Top 10 of the Americana chart; having their track ‘Don’t Look Down’ used in US TV drama Kingdom; and picking up the Emerging Artist Award at the UK Americana Awards in January 2019 – looking back was the last thing on Felix’s mind. Headline tours were selling out, fans singing along so loudly “I couldn't hear myself, I could just hear the crowd.” And a new post-country aesthetic was cohering for the third album, swapping their Delta Arcade Fire feel for a subtle, cosmic feel based around Felix’s brooding baritone, the subaqueous sound of his rare Fender bajo sexto guitar and the deep space ambience of pedal steel player Joe Harvey-Whyte. “He plays with all these country bands from America when they come over but what he really loves doing is the most mad, fucked-up ambient shit you've ever heard,” Felix says. “He goes ‘can I plug this shit in?’ And I was like ‘yes you can, please, more’.”
Then the pandemic hit, his own devastating derailment. An initial version of People In Cars was recorded in June 2020, each band member - guitarist Joe Hazell, drummer Neil Findlay, keyboardist Dani Ruiz Hernandez and bassist Charis Anderson – recording their parts individually. But, having lost his father in April, Felix began writing more songs for the record, digging deep, and recorded them stripped down with Bayston, Harvey-Whyte and Boxed In drummer Liam Hutton early in 2021.
Source Olivia Rayner
September 24, 2021 9:12am ET by Olivia Rayner