April, Track 9, Marching on Through

This track started out as a really really simple jam in the studio – sort of a warm up really as we were preparing to do something else. We have a pump organ in the Crypt which Ed bought for a bottle of wine about a year ago. It’s a magnificent machine (apart from the fact that the whole thing is slightly out of tune so all other instruments have to tune to it, oh and the very top note is stuck on) –  a real joy to play – and I quite often sit down at it and mess around when we’re between tracks…I just love it. So I think it started with myself, Gary and Simon (Goff) playing around the verse section and it was Simon that bagged the fantastic riff which all the instruments now play. It was a really great tune from the off but it started to become a sort of H&S anthem or battle song when we came back to rework it with the idea that it would be a call to arms – a song for the road and all the people who give their time, money, hearts and souls to share a couple of hours of joy at one of our shows.

Last year I moved away from Leeds and so for this recording period the days in the Crypt were bookended by a 45 minute drive to and from home. With past records I’ve had lyrics much more fully formed before we even started recording tracks but as this process was MUCH quicker and more fluid a lot of the lyrics were written as the track was being recorded – sometimes in fact as the vocals were being recorded (as with Caught in the Wake and Pitching Far Too High). Most nights in the car I’d spend forming the lyrics or fragments of lines, singing the track in the car on the way home, jotting down the ideas in my book at traffic lights or pulling in to sing them into a voice-recorder on my phone. The chorus for this was started in such a way – with the town names being integral to that from the start. I first suggested they be part of the actual sung line all the way through the end (as the “Hartlepool” line is on the recording) but Hux had the idea of shouting them out instead. Web2 master that he is the call went straight out on Twitter for town names to feature in the track and the shouted names you hear on the record are the result of that process.

The brass really make this song – another fantastic arrangement by James and an effort well above and beyond the call of duty as he gathered together a make-shift marching band to come and record for the day. I wasn’t around for that day but I’m hoping Ed, Hux or James will enlighten us with some more details…. I know they ended up actually marching around the outside of the church and recording it with a couple of mics – which is the refrain you hear right at the end of the album after Eurospin.

I know we probably bang on about this too much at times but we really have had some incredible experiences in this band and met some wonderful people in the “roads and the towns” and this song is about keeping on that march and enjoying music, gigs, making art, putting on a show, meeting people and sharing some great times, and importantly about doing those things for their own sake and own reward, not because it’ll get you to some mythical destination or produce some grand reward. We turned a huge corner when we became Hope and Social – we stopped the pointless fight to ‘make it’, to get radioplay at any cost, to sell out this gig or that, to get on MTV, to have the hit… we decided to only do the things which involved people and which, in turn, we enjoyed. I know it seemed like insanity for those who followed Four Day Hombre but the sentiment in this song is genuine and we’re still marching on through because of that decision and the good times it’s allowed.

I think I speak for Hux as well in saying that we love singing the line “Wherever we meet there’ll be bars of angels”. It’s not a collective noun by the way, it means just what it says. Bars of Angels.

Addendum – 22/06/10
Also, just to say what a great riff this is. We loved recording this. Loadsafun!


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Matt Burrows
April 30, 2010 at 9:13 pm

sorry to gush, but the paragraph about the switch from FDH to H&S is great.
You guys are very inspirational, and in this ridiculously stupid music “industry” you bring everything back to the ONLY reason to make music, which is because you love it.

I have to be honest, it has taken me a while to understand the switch, and the whole H&S concept, but with this album you have created something which is particularly epic. This track, Darkness now is coming and lets go out tonight are my favourites.
The problem now is that, it will be so hard for you to beat, but I’m sure you’ll give it a good go. :-)

Dean Stewart
April 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I have to agree with Matt. The whole concept of H&S is awesome and truly inspirational. Let’s Go out tonight is quickly emerging as my favourite track on the album. The brass band is lovely, and it makes the track sound quintessentially “English”. The line “harden my heart to the selfish insensitive whims of the rain” is stunning. Where did you guys spring that one from?!

Since this is a post about Darkness now is coming though, damn I needs to get me a banjo!

May 1, 2010 at 11:54 am
– In reply to: Dean Stewart

That’s very much appreciated Dean. Looking forward to heading to Grimsby soon y’know!

Simon Wiffen
May 1, 2010 at 12:44 pm

God knows I loves me the banjo. This month’s been an absolute pleasure. See you in another bar soon. (More Banjo) x

May 4, 2010 at 12:24 am

Maybe a gush here too!

We see a fair few bands, and there is only one or two that really connect. Sure they will give a good live performance and you may listen to their CD and it will make you smile but there are only one or two that REALLY get to you.

I remember the first time I saw H&S, playing as first support at the Luminaire where we were to see Official Secrets Act. I have to admit that to start off with they did not connect (the sound was not that great!) but then Si and Hux stepped forwards and performed Looking For Answers and it all just clicked. For a band to have the confidence to walk forwards, unplugged, and sing to an unknown crowd . . .

The Crypt gig and Come Dine With Us have shown what people who believe in a cause (band) are willing to pay/do. We may have not travelled the furthest to come to either of the events but there was no way we were going to miss them.

Pay what you want works both ways. Guys, you were shocked with the bids for the lazy susans and Rich, you commented when we gave you the money for the April CD at the Cavendish Arms. What we give is what we can afford, and we give it because we want to! If we won the lottery we would ask you what you needed to produce the next album – and then probably give you double because you would never ask for what you really needed!

Down to the south and our good good friends . . . Well, we’ll be here at least for a while – and we hope we are friends . . .


Ben Denison
May 4, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Si, you dont have to tell us you enjoy singing the “Wherever we meet there’ll be bars of angels” verse, it just shines in this recording. The first time I heard the album it stuck out a mile. One of my fav parts in the whole dam wonderful thing.

Also, for anyone that didnt know, if you listen carefully to the town name lyrics, I think there is a bit which goes “Westwood, HO!”


Also, for anyone that didnt know, we are making a video with this video, its fun, and you can all join in, here:

“Cheadle, Hulme!”

We will indeed die with our hearts out in bloom.