The opening notes of Flyte’s debut album, The Loved Ones, are those of grandeur. Washed in English melancholy, yet glittered with stardust, ‘Faithless’ is a gorgeous opener. It’s a song that you hear once and fall in love with.
With the first line asking, ‘How does it feel / Standing apart from all of the rest’, the record could be addressing itself, for it shines brightly above most of what we hear today.
Long-awaited and highly anticipated, The Loved Ones is a dazzling collection of short stories that come together to come of age. Sometimes they’re waltzing fairytales, like ‘Victoria Falls’; a modern hand scrawled love note passed filling in a mate on the latest developments. But often they’re darker and pleading, lined with a lashing of Grimm. It’s a storybook you have to devour in one sitting. A dream that you can’t wake up from until the very end.
“We let the books and poetry we are reading play a role in the writing and we like to go to some dark places.” explains frontman, Will Taylor, “There were moments while recording the album where we let the lyrics really take the lead and influence how we approached sounds and themes in the studio.” You’ll often find the band with their noses in book, following leads from the emotions felt when reading a story. The calamity of sitting and immersing in somebody else’s words and worlds has been projected into the experience of listening to the full work.
They used a nifty tool called,“sonic onomatopoeia. If you want to be pretentious about it.” Will references ‘Victoria Falls’ to demonstrate, as the band “made the music as fluid and watery as possible.” Similarly, in ‘Sliding Doors’; a song edged with a subtle 60s groove, on the lyric ‘from the 25th floor’, the band “made the vocals sound like you could be falling from a building.” The notion is a little unnerving, as the lyrics are candid with a little self-loathing and tragic consequence. It’s what makes the record real and raw.
If we were to judge the songs by their first impression, The Loved Ones, would be a soaring, tentative and compelling documentation of the feeling of euphoria. But, “it’s not an album that shouts at the listener, it asks you to go to it rather than the other way around.” Instead, it takes time for a listener to unpack the intelligent poetic lyricism, and bittersweet emotion. “We wanted there to be something new to discover on each listen so the nuance and the attention to detail was crucial.” Will explains. Harmonies suddenly become spine-tingling, when wrapped into a story of domestic abuse and alcoholism, and vocals appear more pained and pining than soaring.
It’s a representation of the world that we live in, and “the people and places that the record revolves around.” Combining multiple personalities and beliefs, and mixing them into one soft pot, reflects a us as human beings living collectively on a single planet: “A big bold exterior but with a thoughtful questioning voice at the centre of it all.”
Taking the record on the road and introducing it to an audience for the first time has been a “genuinely moving experience” for the band, and crafted a feeling of “togetherness” between artist and listener. Playing these songs in small venues has only made them more intimate. “We try to meet as many people as we can after the shows and a lot of the time we hear stories of how people have related to, or interpreted, a song.” Will says, “It can be different and always rewarding to hear what people have to say and yes, it does start to change the song’s meaning for us.”
Following a good few years of now forgotten singles, the boys have been living in the big city, and working on the album for near three years, this record has been a long time coming. Making it has also taught Flyte a lot about survival and pursuing what you want, even when you have nothing. “We really had no idea what we were doing at the start and nobody really tells you how it all works; you have to figure it out for yourself.” Will suggests a survivor’s handbook for the industry, but admits that the experience has created an unbreakable bond between the four. “Our relationship with each other is everything.” he says, “The love we have for each other is what makes the music what it is without a doubt.
“We split the creative responsibilities completely four ways and we wanted that to show in the cover art not to mention the production itself, everything unified.”
In the past year especially, they’ve learned “exactly what we’re about; who our fans are, and how and why we make music.” Telling how all that they wanted for The Loved Ones was for “this record to stand on it’s own and not fall into anyone else’s category,” when it came to making it they had “total freedom to just get on and do it.
“We would never have got to that point without years of trial and error.”
The time, effort and energy has paid off and will exist forever in not only the recording, but the memories that the songs will help to create. Classic arrangements mixed with modernist aptitude, help to make The Loved Ones a record that will slot on to the record shelves and remain just as important for years to come.
Words by Tanyel Gumushan