Granite Shore released their long-awaited debut album in 2015, with a star-studded cast that features current and former members of The Fall, The June Brides, The Only Ones, Spooky Tooth The Distractions and Brian Wilson’s band on Occultation Recordings. The Granite Shore is fronted by songwriter, singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Nick Halliwell, who also runs the label and is a member of The Distractions.
First and foremost, the second Granite Shore album ’Suspended Second’ is a pop record, albeit an angry one.
When writing began in spring 2016, it dealt largely with anxiety. “Suddenly,” says Nick Halliwell, “we were overtaken by what felt like a national self-harming anxiety episode, which then went global.” Halliwell admits expecting the subject would be all over the arts by the time the record came out, yet little has materialised a year on. “I’m not sure this is my responsibility/But no-one’s stepping forward as far as I can see” goes one lyric. “A pop record is the obvious format for in-depth socio-political analysis so I allowed my lifelong love of ABBA free rein,” he remarks mischievously, “pop’s far more interesting than rock nowadays.” Enlisting cult singer John Howard’s voice of a (recording) angel was another step outside the Indie Ghetto.
The album employs a number of metaphors. “I considered picking up where the [2015 debut] Once More From The Top narrative left off, but resisted the temptation”, Halliwell adds, “I wanted to focus on hooks, trimming off any fat...” The best pop is all about economy, hence unambiguous songs like Where does the Sadness come from?, Outside, looking in and Buyer beware sit alongside more expansive material like The Performance of a Lifetime, which conflates Brexit with the deaths of two Princes.