As I’ve explained, music is my therapy. Every single day I relish the opportunity to explore someone’s new ideas and to refresh my heart with it. I’m a riff and lyric vampire dear reader. The subject of East London based Cross Wires’ new single 24 Roehampton Street might not be entirely uplifting, but it is about memories. Fitting then that my first listen of this new song threaded my mind back through many twists and turns via the excellent raucous Palma Violets (how I worshipped that band) and right back to the likes of The Clash and The Buzzcocks, and that raw pure unadulterated 1970’s punk of my extreme youth.
Cross Wires are a four-piece consisting of Jonathan Chapman (vocals) Peter Muller (guitar/vocals) Pete Letch (bass) and Ian Clarke (drums). The band have been together for around a decade and are named in honour of an XTC song (a chopping urgent itchy post punk track from their seminal 1978 album White Music). Jonathan from the band explains the unusual situation which led to 24 Roehampton Street being released, with the help of producer Rory Attwell (legendary musician (Test Icicles, Warm Brains amongst others) and producer (Palma Violets and the Vaccines amongst others)):
It is one of two new tracks we worked on with producer Rory Attwell over lockdown. Back in September we played a live stream gig at the Hotbox venue in Chelmsford, Essex. Our set on the night included 2 new songs (of which this was one) Rory l took those skeletal live recordings and with some studio wizardry turned them in to 2 proper tracks (all vocals recorded again in the studio). We had never worked this way before, but this lockdown pushed us to be inventive.
The band tell me the track was inspired by those dark 80’s nuclear war films, Threads, When The Wind Blows and the Civil Defence information series Protect and Survive. Extinction is a subject that clearly dwells in the mind of this band, and their debut album A Life Extinct from a couple of years back had that as a theme hanging in the air.
In a spooky bit of coincidence, I was only the other day discussing with a friend how over the years you grow to appreciate that your wage is simply part compensation for your employer stealing your time and your opportunities. 24 Roehampton Street focusses upon a man’s thoughts as he faces his last moments following an apocalypse, and how It’s funny how time gets away from you without even noticing. You turn around one day, and you don’t recognise yourself. Time catches up with us all of course, and I guess we are all guilty of letting it slip through our fingers to some extent or other.
“The lyrics are about all the years he wasted working and how far removed he is from the person he was when he first met his wife. The memories of how happy they once were come flooding back when he is faced with the inevitable end”.
24 Roehampton Street is a total tune with its tight, spiky music and thought-provoking lyrics. It’s vital for someone or something to press your reset button from time to time and reflect upon what’s important in your life. If you get it right, you listen.
* Images have been taken from the band’s social media