A Parlour Flames Preview: Vinny Peculiar returns to Norfolk before British tour with Oasis guitarist
A Parlour Flames Preview
Vinny Peculiar returns to Norfolk before British tour with Oasis guitarist
By Jeff Maisey
For much of 2012 Manchester, England poet, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Vinny Peculiar, aka Alan Wilkes, has been at work on a new 12-song album with ex-Oasis rhythm guitarist Bonehead, aka Paul Arthurs.
As you might imagine there’s been a real buzz in British music magazines NME and Uncut as both musicians are well known in the UK for their Brit-pop backgrounds. As a member of Oasis from 1991 through 1999, Bonehead enjoyed huge success in England second only to The Beatles. Oasis scored mega-popular, chart-topping status on the strength of songs “Wonderwall,” “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and “Champagne Supernova.” Since leaving Oasis, Bonehead has played in Moondog One with The Smiths’ Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke. That’s when he and Peculiar first met.
“We met via Mike Joyce, drummer from the Smiths, who was drumming with me at the time,” said Peculiar. “Bone went on to play bass on a Vinny Peculiar European Tour in 2007. We always got along well and made tentative plans to work together at some point. That point is now.”
While Vinny Peculiar never enjoyed the massive success of The Smiths or Oasis, he has recorded nearly two dozen albums and is highly regarded among other musicians and is a darling of the British music press. He’s often compared to Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker.
The Bonehead/Peculiar collaboration goes by the name Parlour Flames. They began writing and recording in earnest in March of 2012 and expect to release the full-length “Volume 1” in the early spring of 2013 on Cherry Red Records in the UK. Rough mixes of some of the material are being made available for fans in advance.
“All the lyrics and a few monitor mixes from the album are on the new website, www.parlourflames.com,” said Peculiar. “There’s a song on the record I wrote in memory of my uncle who passed away a few years ago called ‘Too Soon the Darkness.’ That’s an important song for me. There are also songs about a childhood prank that goes wrong (‘Jump the Brook Ruth’) and the Manchester rain. We are living in the wettest city on earth; it’s like monsoon season every day here. ‘Manchester Rain’ tips its hat to the Mamas and Papas with its layered vocal harmonies and (Echo and the) Bunnymen guitars. There’s also a song called ‘Pop Music Football & Girls,’ which is like the holy trinity of hurt where we come from.”
Time in the recording studio has taken longer than expects, but the additional time has proven useful and will enhance the overall production.
“The extended time has helped with the creative process, some big decisions have been afforded a little extra time, we’ve spent time sourcing the right sounds for the songs including hiring a different studio to record some of the louder guitars. We’ve also used guest musicians so we have cellos & trumpets in addition to the bass, guitars, drums, keys, pianos and vocals.”
Those guest musicians include members of Bad Drawn Boy and Samson & Delilah. Some of these players will be on Parlour Flames 2013 UK Tour. Peculiar sings all the main vocal tracks. He and Bonehead perform bass, guitars, piano and other assorted keyboards in the studio.
As might be imagined, the anticipation surround the Parlour Flames release adds a certain degree of pressure on Peculiar and Bonehead. And they are ready to deliver.
“We hope the album gets the critical acclaim it deserves,” said Peculiar. “If commercial success follows that will be a nice bonus, but we are looking first and foremost at making a record we can be truly proud of. The reactions to our monitor mixes on www.soundcloud.com/parlourflames have been really encouraging, likewise the live dates.”