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LISTEN: Wave Pictures & Billy Childish
Christian Eede , February 9th, 2015 14:22

The Wave Pictures team up with Billy Childish for new collaborative album; stream the results below, with a track-by-track guide from the band

As Moshi Moshi gear up to release Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon, the new album from The Wave Pictures in collaboration with Billy Childish, next week, tQ is offering you the first chance to listen to it and read a track-by-track guide to the album from the band, below.

With Childish name-checked as one of The Wave Pictures' all-time heroes, the album was recorded entirely using his equipment, including his 60s Selmer amps, a 60s drum kit and his rocket-ship shaped guitars. The band's Dave Tattersall says that Childish "was a joy to work with and we love the record. It was the most fun we've ever had making a record and to us it's the most exciting thing we've ever done". The album also features backing vocal contributions from The Chatham Singers' Juju Claudius on the track 'I Could Hear The Telephone (3 Floors Above Me)', the video for which is below, with Tattersall commenting: "Billy, often against the judgement of everyone else in the room, took the time to work out backing vocal parts for Juju, which brought another dimension to the songs. It's hard to imagine this song without Juju's vocal line on it. The Wave Pictures are currently on a UK tour with stops in London, Bristol, Manchester, among other towns and cities, all coming up; full details and tickets are here and you can pre-order the album here.

'Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon'
Once I saw the moon in the still eye of a flamingo, motionless on one straight leg in London Zoo. And once I saw a flamingo in the moon, this great big pink moon that hung in the sky over Portugal and looked like it was on fire.

And this song has yet another moon in it: the drum roll that Jonny 'Huddersfield' Helm peels off in the choruses is pure Keith Moon. People tend not to listen past my voice and notice things like The Who, lurking (or pogoing) in the background. But there they are. Billy plays the guitar on this one and he sounds just like Pete Townshend to me.

'I Could Hear The Telephone (3 Floors Above Me)'
The Wave Pictures in a nutshell: the Modern Lovers with Rory Gallagher on lead guitar.

It's important to mention the input of Juju Claudius, who sings backing vocals on so many of the songs and is such a big part of the character of the album. Billy, often against the judgement of everyone else in the room, took the time to work out backing vocal parts for Juju, which brought another dimension to the songs. It's hard to imagine this song without Juju's vocal line on it.

Nearly all the songs have creatures in them: caterpillars and frogs and foxes and dragonflies; crawling, flying, running. This song, for instance, appears to be about a mole.

'At Dusk You Took Down The Blinds'
Billy said this was a song of genius and I agree with him.

'All The Birds Lined Up Dot Dot Dot'
This sounds a bit like The Troggs. At least, it would be nice to think that it does. Who loves The Troggs? We do! The beautiful, brilliant Troggs, so different from all the pompous bands around now it seems like they live on another planet.

'Frogs Sing Loudly In The Ditches'
People call this kind of lyric stream of consciousness and wonder where it comes from. In this case it comes from a tourist information board next to the ruins of a castle near Rye. I don't believe in stream of consciousness but I do believe that lyrics are everywhere.

When we recorded this one the whole album started to fall into place. Billy said we sounded like "a weird Cream". He proceeded to put the heaviest, bassiest feedback under it.

'Sinister Purpose/Green River'
Ever since we were teenagers, Creedence Clearwater Revival have been a touchstone band for us. We just wanted to pay tribute to them. To me, they're one of the great 60s bands, and [John] Fogerty is a hero to me for his guitar playing and his lyrics. What they did just has so much personality, such strength of character. It was Billy's idea to do two Creedence covers. He said, "That way people will know you've really got an issue!" and burst out laughing.

'Fake Fox Fur Pillowcase'
A close friend told me I had the lopsided face of a giraffe. I had never thought of myself that way before.

Billy and I bonded over a shared love of a lot of the same music: Billie Holliday, Slim Harpo, The Who and especially Jimmy Reed, whose magnificent song 'I Found Joy' is referenced in 'Fake Fox Fur Pillowcase'. When we were going for live takes of the songs, Billy would on occasion stop us and remind us to take it easy, to sit back on the beat. "Think of Jimmy Reed," he would say, "Jimmy Reed rolls along with a broken wheel... where's the broken wheel?"

Even though we don't play the blues, Jimmy Reed is a key influence. One of the very earliest songs I ever wrote for the band was called 'Jimmy Reed', recorded in the kitchen in Wymeswold on a four-track cassette machine when we were 18. I'm glad he makes an appearance here, too. It makes sense to me. Everything about this record was exciting for us, the way it's exciting to make music when you first do it when you're a teenager. You almost can't believe you're really doing it; it's mysterious and thrilling. When I sing about Jimmy Reed in this song, all that stuff comes back to me.

If you want to hear Billy's take on Jimmy Reed, I highly recommend The Jimmy Reed Experience by Thee Headcoats – a beautiful, beautiful EP of Reed covers.

Billy called the solo I did at the end of the track "bagpipe guitar". He said he could imagine Paul and Linda marching in.

'The Fire Alarm'
It's the end of the world and we're rocking out!

'The Goldfish'
For my new pet goldfish, Mahi, who has brought so much pleasure into my life.

'We Fell Asleep In The Blue Tent'
Billy plays one of the best guitar solos of all time on this one. I really mean that. It's killer.

'Pea Green Coat'
The last song on the record was the first song that Billy and I wrote together. The music is all Billy's. What a riff! And that's studio engineer Jim Riley playing the best Brit-blues harmonica since Lee Brilleaux left us.

I really did see someone wearing a pea green coat, seeming somewhat lost in a crowd of black coats, in St. Pancras Station once, and I wished that they were waiting for me. That image stuck in my mind for years, and came out here. The rest of the story owes something to John Boorman's Point Blank, or, more precisely, to a dream I had the night I watched Point Blank for the first time.

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