Jul 02, 2021
By Mark Redfern
Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream and Jehnny Beth from Savages have released a new collaborative album together, Utopian Ashes, today via Third Man. Now that the album is out you can stream the whole thing below. Also, today we posted our review of the album and you can read that here.
Previously the duo shared the album’s first single, “Remember We Were Lovers,” via a video for it. “Remember We Were Lovers” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, the string-backed “Chase It Down,” via a video for it. “Chase It Down” was also one of our Songs of the Week.
As well as Gillespie and Beth, the album also features Beth’s musical partner Johnny Hostile (bass) alongside three members of Primal Scream—Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (piano), and Darrin Mooney (drums).
Utopian Ashes is a concept record of sorts that chronicles the collapse of a marriage. A press release compares the album to country-soul classics such as Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris’ Grievous Angel and George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s We Go Together.
“In the same way you create characters for a novel, we’ve created characters here,” says Beth in the press release. “But you put yourself in it, because you’re trying to understand the human situation. The singing has to be authentic. That’s all that matters.”
“When you write a song you marry the personal with the fictional and make art,” adds Gillespie. “I was thinking about two people living alone, together but apart, existing and suffering in a psychic malaise, who plough on because of responsibilities and commitments. It’s about the impermanence of everything—an existential fact that everyone has to face at some point in their lives.”
It was in 2015 when they were both invited to get up on stage with Suicide at the Barbican in London that the duo first met. In 2016 Beth joined Primal Scream on stage for a duet of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood’s “Some Velvet Morning” (a Primal Scream staple). Sessions for the album happened in Paris in 2017.
Summing up his intentions with Utopian Ashes Gillespie says: “I wanted to put pain back into music. I wasn’t hearing a lot of it in modern rock music.”
Beth released her debut solo album, To Love Is to Live, last year via Caroline.
Read our 2020 interview with Beth on To Love Is to Live.
Primal Scream’s most recent album, Chaosmosis, was released back in 2016 via the band’s own label, First International.
Read our 2016 interview with Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie on Chaosmosis.
Also read our 2013 interview with Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie on More Light.
Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth Tour Dates:
7th – Edinburgh, Queen’s Hall
8th – Glasgow, Pavilion
10th – London, EartH (Pitchfork Festival)
11th – London, EartH (Pitchfork Festival)
13th – Manchester, Cathedral
14th – Brighton, Theatre Royal
15th – Paris, Saint-Eustache (Pitchfork Festival)