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STEREO EMBERS EXCLUSIVE ALBUM PREVIEW – Heaven By The Backdoor by wojtek the bear on the Last Night From Glasgow label w/added track-by-track band commentary!

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We admit it outright. Mention the Scottish label Last Night From Glasgow and we sit up straight, move our chairs in closer and fix our attention with a laser-like intensity on whatever’s being brought to our attention. Mt Doubt, Hadda Be, Gracious Losers, Close Lobsters, the Bluebells’ most recent work, which to be honest barely scratches the surface as we glance at Discogs and make note of the host of other bands and artists we need to catch up on, LNFG is among the very few modern labels that reminds us of that hazy golden era when a label approached the building of a stable as an act of careful, almost devotional curation, deliberately molding a loose but identifiable aesthetic that was unmistakably Postcard, 4AD, Creation, Les Disques de Crépuscule. In LNFG’s case, the focus is on songwriting, the type that rings with a deceptively easy, intrinsically human depth as if the songs arrived straight from the songwriter’s heart fully formed. Following effortlessly in the footsteps of Scotland-born forebears the Pastels, Teenage Fanclub, Aztec Camera, Friends Again and others, wojtek the bear, here on their sophomore album Heaven By The Backdoor, take 2018 debut album A Talent For Being Unreasonable‘s  sunnier laid back (if no less arresting) style and inject it with a somewhat more vigorous dose of groove, their trademark hooks now hooking just a little sharper, the emphasis of the arrangements just a tad more emphatic. Subtle but noticeable, it’s the sound of a band (we dare say) maturing, filling out, spreading their proverbial wings as they grow stronger and more confident. That process is always an exciting thing to be witness to but when it’s a band blessed with the songwriting caliber such as wojtek the bear exhibits ? It’s bloody sublime. So settle in, hit that orange play button below, and follow along as lead singer Tam Killean takes us through the inspired gist behind each track.

When we finished writing this we pretty much all agreed immediately it would be the first
single and first song on the album. It’s our stab at writing a Motown 3 minute pop song and
is has everything that goes along with that – 4 to the floor rhythm, sparkling brass and a
chorus hook that’s clinically proven to get lodged in your brain for days.
Lyrically it’s a rumination on a dysfunctional and abusive relationship and how we often have
a tendency to overthink and blame ourselves in those types of situations.
“As I lay me down to sleep, my brain decides to play on repeat
A loop of every mistake I’ve ever made”
Those lines fortuitously came to me in a half-asleep state one night. I find that happens a lot
of with the lyrics I’m happiest with, they often come when I’m not trying to hard or to force
This song is obviously heavily indebted to that whole Spector wall of sound, and 60’s girl
group scene. It’s hard to write a song using
drumbeat and not lean into it so we decided
to embrace it.
The way the strings and the guitar weave in and out of each other on the chorus of this is
one of my favourite parts of the record.
We wrote this in a relatively unusual style for us as I didn’t come up with the original verse
chords. Chuck had the idea kicking around and brought it into a rehearsal and we all
immediately clicked with it. It’s impossible to play without swaying around to and I’m
hopeful that’ll translate well when we finally get to play it live for people!
The first two lines came to me on a monotonous train commute to work one morning and I
built the rest around them. Sometimes staring out the window aimlessly yields great
“I hold my breath between the streetlights, I count the steps I took from you
I guess it helps me to remember, there’s always something to subdue.”
This is probably one of the oldest songs on the album as we wrote it back in the summer of
2019. Becky refers to it lovingly as “The Jet2 song” as she is convinced it was destined to be
​used in a holiday advert. If any holiday companies are reading this and want to offer us a
large sum to licence it give me a shout…
I played a rough demo of this to the band at rehearsal last summer and was informed it
“sounded like a bag of chords”. Suffice to say we worked on it a lot from that point and after
a complete overhaul it sounds absolutely nothing like that original demo.
It’s a bit of a departure in terms of sound for us, but I think we all felt that if we weren’t
taking risks and trying new things then we’d stopped progressing.
Unashamedly indie pop, a song written with the explicit aim of being played and enjoyed in
a field, surrounded by your pals with a cold drink in your hand and a smile on your face.
As one review of the album put it recently – “if you don’t enjoy this song, you don’t deserve
to have ears”. Who am we to argue with that?!
I had a terrible time with my mental health in 2018 and had some incredibly dark thoughts
at points. The lyrics on this song explore a lot of those and the feelings of trying to fight my
way out of that. Much like a lot of our songs there’s a relatively grim or morose underbelly to
the song but all dressed up with a indie pop sheen and a chiming chorus, hooray for
“I could tie a knot but it’d probably snap, I could borrow your car and aim for a tree
I could walk to the edge and never look back, close my eyes tight and walk into the sea”
I’ve had quite a complex relationship with religion growing up and did the classic “rebelling
against whatever your parents are into” by declaring myself an atheist at the age of 12. I’m
not convinced I could even spell atheist at that age but I stuck with it.
The lyrics on this song are my exploration of being raised in that classic West of Scotland
catholic household and of my rejection of that whilst also trying to possibly hedge my bets
incase it all turns out to be real!
“You made your first confession before you made your first mistake
And you cling to St Christopher and pray that he’s more than keepsake
You bow for ten hail mary’s then you do a dozen more
You’re still not sure what it means but it might get you into heaven by the back door”
The final minute and a half of this is probably my favourite 90 seconds on the record.
Another song that’s a bit left of centre for us but that came together quite quickly.
The ambient sounds towards the end were recordings I’d made on a family holiday a few
years back in Ely in Fife.
“This is the town where I never grew up, where the story will now conclude
Beside the wall where you first told me, you said darling we’re not packing, parachutes”
We started writing this song almost by mistake the day before we flew to Barcelona for The
Boaty Weekender back in 2019. I was messing around with the opening guitar part and
Chuck (our other guitarist) started jamming over the top of it.
The way it builds and builds throughout the song made it the obvious choice to close out the
album. It’s a song about fooling all of the people, all of the time, or at least trying to.
“I deal in half truth and misdirection, and my sleeve holds many a secret
It’s not a funeral more like a resurrection, we may’ve been partners but never an equal
I am the magician, slight of hand and feint of heart
I cannot forgive but I have been forgiven
You say it’s not the truth but it’s a start, it’s a start…”