Breaks Co-op: With just a touch of nostalgia

By Paula Yeoman

Breaks Co-op's 70s-tinged melodies put us in fresh but familiar territory, finds Paula Yeoman.

The men behind Breaks Co-op are Andy Lovegrove, left, and Hamish Clark.
The men behind Breaks Co-op are Andy Lovegrove, left, and Hamish Clark.

If it wasn't for Andy Lovegrove's wife, there may never have been a new Breaks Co-op record. "There was a point where I wasn't sure whether I wanted to do another one," Lovegrove said. "But it's my wife's fault. She said I really needed to get creative again and so she spoke to Hamish [Clark] who was then living in Berlin and said, 'You two need to get together'. She bought me a ticket to Berlin and I flew over there. We ended up writing the first three songs on the album in those five days we spent together."

The 10-track Sounds Familiar comes a lengthy nine years after Breaks Co-op's triumphant The Sound Inside, which spawned the now iconic song, The Other Side.

It's an incredibly long gap between albums, but perhaps not so much when you consider the shelf life of 2004's The Sound Inside.

"We were touring that record for maybe two and a half, three years," says Lovegrove.

"It was quite a long time to be living in each others' pockets and working on a single album. We were very tired by the end of it."

Lovegrove retreated to the West Country in his native Britain, and Clark moved to Berlin. The third band member, Zane Lowe - a host on BBC Radio 1 - wasn't actively involved in the new album but was on hand to offer advice and critique the new songs.

Now having finished the record, Lovegrove's clearly pleased with the prompting he had from his wife. "It was amazing," he says of working with Clark.

"We were really both surprised at how well it went. On the previous album, Hamish and Zane had worked together on the initial tracks, then towards the end it was very much me and Zane. I'd never sat down and tried to write with just Hamish, but it turned out to be a very productive partnership.

"I'm really happy with this record. I'm so proud of it as a complete piece of work. I don't think I've ever felt more confident with an album I've made," he says.

Much like the band's earlier work, warm 70s harmonies run through the new album. And as the title suggests, there are also sounds, and a vibe you just can't quite pigeonhole.

"Expect it to remind you of something, but you can't remember quite what," laughs Lovegrove, who will be winging his way to New Zealand this month for the Classic Hits Winery Tour, where Breaks Co-op shares the bill with Stan Walker and The Exponents, at wineries up and down the country. The perfect Kiwi settings, he says, for the sweet tunes of Sounds Familiar, which comes out on January 25.

The Classic Hits Winery Tour kicks off at Mystery Creek, Hamilton on January 31 and ends on March 1 at Villa Maria in Blenheim.

- Herald on Sunday

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