An album half a lifetime in the making, Gramsci emerge once more from the shadows with THE HINTERLANDS, a deeply sonic musical experience that brings maverick musician, singer and guitarist Paul McLaney full circle.
Borne out of the remarkable and highly diverse body of work recorded under various guises and over a career spanning 20+ years, McLaney says, “For the first time I feel like all of the separate aspects of my musical expression have found their shared equilibrium. It’s the album that all of my musical adventures and experiments have led me to, at this point in time.”
McLaney has experimented across many genres over the years, and the resulting musical education and experience has rewarded him accordingly. An exceptionally talented musician, McLaney has explored solo-acoustic, ambient-electronica, prog-rock, piano, Te Reo Shakespearian theatre and numerous collaborations with some of our most loved musicians such as Anika Moa, Julia Deans, Concord Dawn, Fly My Pretties, SJD, Breaks Co-op – the list goes on and on. Ultimately, all projects have contributed to this stunning collection of songs.
Despite having released such a vast catalogue of songs, McLaney is not one to chase commercial success, and as such, his music exists on the periphery. “In many ways my career is a complete exposition of what not to do! Looking back I can see now that it was because all of those songs and albums felt more like preparations/studies, and so I was always moving onto the next one; trying to improve and hone my craft and facility.”
At the heart of it all is Gramsci. “That is the cauldron really, the place where each of these separate expressions merge,” says McLaney.
Having put that cauldron aside for over 15 years while becoming a father and raising a family, Gramsci was resurrected with last years’ INHERITANCE album, released into the chaos of a global pandemic. “I didn’t want to be away, but fundamentally I had an overwhelming knowingness that I needed to explore the far reaches of my musicality to actually be able to crystalise my own expression. But the key reason for the return has really been my teaming up with Greg.”
Greg Haver is an award winning Welsh record producer most renowned for his work with The Manic Street Preachers. “Being asked to join a band again, especially with such a stellar musician as Paul McLaney, was both unexpected and intriguing. The fact that it was also Gramsci and that Paul entrusted me with both playing and co-productions, made the decision to reply in the affirmative an easy one. Re-tracing the sonics and production value that imbued my early career felt like music had come full circle. It was a joy to play with Paul and Marika Hodgson and work with the rest of the talented team on THE HINTERLANDS album.”
With THE HINTERLANDS, McLaney circles back to his 16 year old self who was intoxicated by The Cure, Pink Floyd, The The, The Smiths and the worlds they created that he could escape into; safe harbours. “It’s me owning up to who I am as a musician, a writer, a guitarist - understanding the power and expression that particular instrument can have as a release for the things you can’t articulate in words. And for the first time I’m not thinking about the next thing; it feels like the arrival.”