The Counterweight is released today!
Read more about it below:
In 2003 Thea Gilmore released what came to be known as her ‘breakthrough’ album, ‘Avalanche’.
It was already her 5th album and was described variously as, a rite of passage, a post 9/11 album.
It was a 23 year olds musing on global anxiety, an increasingly vacuous celeb culture, and the state of entrenched apathy among my peers. "Who's gonna raise a hand, all we were taught to do was dance?” sang Thea against a backdrop of skeletal guitar, cello, toy piano and 808 drum machine.
It was the first Gilmore album to chart, it even yielded a top 40 single and was lauded in the press with 5 star reviews.
Thea Gilmore was releasing an album a year at the time and her following records shifted gaze and focus - never entirely losing sight of the political landscape, but turning inward, singing songs about the depression she’d been diagnosed with, singing love songs and songs about parenthood.
Now, in 2017, comes whats widely being called the follow-up to Avalanche. Though they’re divided by 13 years and 8 albums, The Counterweight calls on the spirit of its predecessor, dances with the zeitgeist and doesn’t pull its punches.
It opens with a siren-like 2 note piano figure, a story of personal and domestic unrest moving quickly into a deeper spiritual unease in a world of disconnection. The album closes with a sampled foetal heartbeat interwoven into a dark elegy for 2016.
In between are a series of songs which throw a searchlight on the landscape of political division, dissipating tolerance, gun culture, all pervasive social media and disappearing attention spans.
And it was the destiny of a piece of work already fuelled by the bleak, uneasy horizon to be recorded in the year where it was hard to avoid the sense that the proverbial wheels were coming off.
Mixing the album in September, Gilmore found herself looking back at the spring and summer of recording - working on "Reconcile" as Britain voted to leave the EU. Recording "Johnny Gets A Gun" three days after the Orlando shooting and, most harrowingly of all, on the day when the world was watching the tragedy of Jo Cox's murder unfold.
The album rattles with the rapid change in our social and political landscape that 2016 brought with it.
As the albums evolution drew to a close, the world had changed beyond recognition. Out of the turmoil and sadness was borne, at the very eleventh hour, the final track ‘The War’ inspired by the work and life of Jo Cox, the first and last verses directly referencing her. Thea was throwing a cautionary message in a bottle into the shifting tide, but also singing a reminder that acts of kindness and humanity are never in vain: ‘You can cut that stem, but wild flowers grow again, all you can do is just tend to them and know that you tried’
So ‘The Counterweight’ tries to be exactly that. A redressing of the balance, a tool of pressure, an exertion of opposite force and as such, a flag of hope.