In the years that followed the release of their second album, The Singleman Affair performed almost exclusively as a live band, integrating the different moods of the first two records into a live experience. The musical relationships established by the band formed the foundation of their third full-length album, “The End of the Affair”, a new, frenetic emotional tryst that personifies darker, heavier tones within their dense psychedelia.
What was once the singular bedroom recordings of Daniel Schneider is now a full multi-dimensional band, backed by Adam Vida on drums (U.S. Maple), Gary Pyskacek on guitar and pedal steel, Jacob Smith on organ, and Sam Wagster (Cairo Gang, Fruit Bats) on bass. The band mixes influences from late 60s British folk, early 70s stoner psychedelia, outsider noise art, surrealism, film noir, and their own love of improvisation and experimentation.
Thematically, “The End of the Affair” is a meditation on anxiety and the fleeting faces seen through the eyes of an aging folk troubadour. From the Stooges-esque opener “Be This Way”, inspired by (Luis Bunuel’s) surrealist masterpiece “Un Chien Andalou”, one hears the worried notes of a man never finding the morning light, of never waking up…”Let’s open every eyelid/Let’s cut them open brightly” which resonate with the image of a singular eyeball being sliced open, referencing the notorious eyeball-slicing scene found in “Un Chien Andalou”. The bombastic single, “Gray Hairs”, highlights a Fairport Convention ideology refracted through a verbose John Cale lens, raising the frustrations of aging (“And my hair, it starts to gray/As I fade away”) to a boiling point by the furious culmination of the song. One of the most crushing singles on the album is “In Response”, a song that cuts past pretense, leaving one reflecting on the raw, naked realities of a relationship that just didn’t work, showing both sadness and resolve: “You can shine so bright, and hang out with the lights/But the lights don’t shine anymore.” Themes of personal frustration and loss are further explored in the quiet paranoia found in the Floydian jam “I Know a Witch”, where notes of distrust culminate in a final night of furious passion, as can be heard in the dense synth-heavy outro. The album concludes with the fated sea shanty “Lady of the Sea”, where the listener finally finds acceptance within these tales of anguish and longing, as echoed in the repeated mantra, “I will remember you…I will remember you…” ; a final sense of peace and realization. This is psychedelic music stripped of artifice; imagery of bitterness, loss, beauty, and the true anti-hero who never wins.
“The End of the Affair” was recorded and engineered by Andrew Hernandez in an abandoned barber shop, where the Singleman Affair had built a recording studio to capture the more intimate moments of the new material as a live collaborative effort as well as to utilize the larger space to capture all of the musicians together. The songs the band tracked live in the barber shop studio became the foundation of the “End of the Affair”, and were then augmented by various late night session at Daniel Schneider’s home recording studio, utilizing an expansive collection of vintage microphones and a 1970’s EMT plate reverb that helped to harness both the urgency of the full band recordings as well as the delicate intimacy found in some of the acoustic guitar and vocal tracks. All of these recordings were then handed off to long-time Singleman Affair stalwart (engineer/producer) Graeme Gibson, who mixed the album after making some additional recordings, to create the dynamic sounds that make up “The End of the Affair.” Additional musicians who contributed to this record were Gillian Lisee (Cairo Gang), multi-instrumentalist and drummer Graeme Gibson (Fruit Bats, Disappears, Houndstooth), and viola and banjo player Liz Payne (Town and Country, The Zoo Wheel).
The End of the Affair will be available June 16th as a collaborative release between Cardboard Sangria Records and Strange Weather Records (on LP/CS/DL).