News Track By Track: Just Handshakes - Say It

On 20th May Leeds’ Just Handshakes release their debut album ‘Say It’ on San Diego-based label Bleeding Gold.

It’s a first work that’s benefited from time. Years, in fact. When these guys first emerged their band name was twice as long, their songs the product of youthful hedonism, excitability. None of that’s disappeared, per say, on their full-length. But the themes and the stories captured in their songwriting are the product of years of growing up, experiencing anguish, loneliness and love. It’s one of the most interesting debuts that’ll land all year, so it was deemed good cause to get a track-by-track guide from the band themselves about each song’s making, and the stories that line the album’s seams.

‘London Bound’
The first single off the album. This song is about that limbo period when you finish uni, you’re not sure what to do with yourself and everyone you know seems to disappear to London.

‘Running Wild’
Lyrically this song was inspired by an Oscar Wilde quote and musically there’s a nod to Television too.

This is one of our favourite songs off the album. On ‘Kiwi’ we spent time experimenting with different vocal effects and synth noises. With these recordings we had a lot more input into the production and how we wanted things to sound.

‘Say It’
A more stripped back song. ‘Say It’ wasn’t intended to be the title track, but when all the recordings were finished we felt it was a good representation of what the album is about.

‘Bright Lights’
A more downbeat, synth-based song about formative years and growing up.

This is quite different to our other songs. It almost didn’t make the album, but it came together well in the studio and was a good song to close Side A of the vinyl.

‘Dead and Alive’
An upbeat, summery song about getting drunk and trying to be philosophical.

This one was written and recorded really quickly. It was the first time we had ever worked like that so it has a nice ramshackle feel to it.

‘Cut and Run’
Originally recorded as a demo before the album session. This is one of the older songs on the album and has lots of fuzzy bass and 90s style distorted guitars.

A mellow, dream-pop song with nods toward Au Revoir Simone.

‘Stick Around’
Right at the beginning of making the album we were mugged on the way home from the studio. It was a pretty dark time for us. We lost a lot of early demos that we’d been working on and the experience definitely coloured the songs on the record. It wasn’t an easy thing to talk about at the time and this song was written about it.

This song was written in the early hours of the morning and it’s about childhood memories of my Grandpa’s house in Sydney. It’s a really simple song and it didn’t seem right to add anything to it. We recorded it live on an old chord organ and just kept the first take. It’s far from perfect but we like it that way.

Stream the ‘Say It’ album exclusively on DIY below. Pre-order a Screen-printed CD from the group’s Bandcamp.

Just Handshakes play the following shows:

20 Brighton, The Hope
21 London, Old Blue Last
25 Sheffield, The Hadfield
26 Manchester, Carefully Planned
31 London, Paper Dress

01 Newcastle, Head of Steam
05 Shrewsburry, Venue TBC
06 Telford, Haygate
07 Liverpool, Venue TBC
19 London, Havana Affair

17 London, Power Lunches
20 Tramlines Festival, Sheffield

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