British dance-pop duo Spray presents their clever and concept-packed single ‘The Big Idea’ from their new 12-track album ‘Ambiguous Poems About Death’, newly released via Manchester’s Analogue Trash label. Packed full of acerbic wit with tongue firmly in cheek when needed for maximum effect, this album will delight fans new and old. Earlier, the duo previewed the singles ‘Hammered in An Airport’, ‘Félicette (Space Cat)’ and ‘Blurred in the Background’.
Spray is music-addict siblings Jenny McLaren (vocals, guitars) and Ricardo Autobahn (synths), who have managed to build an enviable following for their brand of danceable and subversive indie disco pop since their 2002 debut ‘Living In Neon’ LP. Also responsible for a smash cover of Lisa Lougheed’s ‘Run With Us’ (‘The Raccoons’ theme song), their unique brand of oblique synth-pop is catchy as hell, bringing them mainstream pop success in an alternate universe.
“The Big Idea is our tribute to creatives, idealists and visionaries who pioneer concepts and ideas against backlash and resistance. The people who are then lauded and celebrated but only up until the point where big business works out how to monetize the idea. The line in the song “everybody loves you when they don’t understand what you’re doing – then you’re expendable” is our nod to those corporations who will mine the well of talent, but only until the alchemy from art to commerce is completed,” says Ricardo Autobahn.
“Spray has begun touring and playing live in recent years for the first time – and our songwriting style has slightly shifted to accommodate that. Having previously written albums purely from a studio perspective, this time we wanted to write a live anthem, a huge feel-good song with wide chords and melodies. No gimmicks. Like Coldplay but without all the unpleasantness,” says Jenny McLaren.
Spray’s musical DNA traces back to the 90s band The Cuban Boys, who recorded one of the best Peel Sessions ever and went head-to-head with Sir Cliff Richard in a Christmas Chart Battle. Their hit single ‘Cognoscenti Vs Intelligentsia’ (a.k.a. The Hamster Dance Song) sold a million copies, reached number 4 in the UK single charts, landed them on Top of the Pops and, according to John Peel, was “the most requested song I’ve had since God Save The Queen”. They topped the John Peel Festive 50 Charts twice.
Spray was the secret weapon behind the UK’s 2006 Eurovision hit ‘Teenage Life’, written and produced with Daz Sampson, with their treated vocals used on the track. Ricardo Autobahn and Sampson’s dance version of ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ (as Rikki and Daz) with the legendary Glen Campbell went Top-10. More recently Spray recorded music with anarchic BBC star Hacker T. Dog and Ricardo also plays keyboards with Welsh punk-pop icons Helen Love.
This is their second Analogue Trash release, following 2019’s ‘Failure Is Inevitable’. They’ve used the intervening time wisely; writing, terrorising social media, and a number of live shows. Undeterred by distance, recording and production duties were split between Spray Studio 1 (decaying, seen better days) and Spray Studio 2 (shiny, newly refurbished, sweet-smelling) and the album took shape with the TD-3 employed in all the songs, somewhere.