Strike the Colours' Jenny Reeve on their new album Flock

With the release of their third studio album, Flock, we speak to Strike the Colours frontwoman Jenny Reeve about touring and reuniting when the time felt right

Article by Paul Sinclair | 03 Dec 2018
  • Strike the Colours

It’s been a while since Strike the Colours have made any kind of noise in the music world – nine years in fact since they graced us with their last release, Seven Roads. This isn't to say that the band members themselves haven't been busy. The group is made up of members who have in the past few years worked on releases and toured with bands such as BDY_PRTS, Arab Strap, CHVRCHES and The Kills to name a few. It's a workload that seemingly left Strike the Colours dormant for the better part of a decade, but now the band returns with their third release, Flock.

“I guess it seems like a long time, but it also seems like the right time,” frontwoman Jenny Reeve explains. “We’ve talked about putting a record out over the last seven years or so, but it’s just never been the right time, for one reason or another. We wanted to make sure we had the time and energy to dedicate to actually putting it out properly.”

Making the decision to up sticks and leave their native Glasgow for the recording process, the band found themselves travelling to Monnow Valley Studios in Monmouth, Wales, used by the likes of Oasis, Black Sabbath and Biffy Clyro to name a few. “We wanted to record the album as live as we could, so we wanted to get away so we could be in the right headspace, and be in a studio where we could do that. And no one had to travel home at night, so we could be recording at anti-social hours if the mood took us.”

Flock has a noticeably more energetic and heavier feel than its predecessors, due in part to the band coming together in a more collaborative approach to making the record. Stepping away from the acoustic guitar-laden songs of old, Reeve explains that deliberately going into the recording process with an incomplete song made for a more complex album in which the entire band took a more prominent role. “Because I hadn’t written the bones of the song, quite often [this time] the parts were centred around a bass part or guitar part, or if I’m playing violin or doing whatever I’m doing. That lent itself to the instruments taking the lead and being a bit bolder, so it’s definitely louder and goes on more tangents than we have done previously.”

The heavier tones and nuances of the album feel like a progression in the timeline of Strike the Colours; a new chapter with new stories to tell. A newer experience for Reeve on this record is the honesty and bravery found when creating its lyrics; although they were written in a shorter time period, she's put more of herself into the songs than ever before. “Up until that record, I hadn't been particularly brave in the way that I’d written," Reeve says. "I just felt at the time I couldn't put myself fully across, or I’d always been using imagery and metaphor to hide behind, and I hadn't been bold enough to come and say, 'this is me, this is how I feel', because it’s hard to do that. But I think with this record, I wanted to be braver in the things that I was writing and what I was writing about, as hard as that may be.”

No stranger to the road, Reeve packed up, grabbed an acoustic guitar and spent the first week of November promoting the new release by opening for Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert on their UK tour. A full band line-up will be performing at Glasgow's The Hug & Pint on 16 December, the only full band show announced thus far. However, this doesn't mean that Strike the Colours will be returning to hibernation, as Reeve points out. “I think having been out on my own and done those shows, that’s a possibility, at the very least, or a different imagining of the record, either me and Davey (McAulay), or three of us, so in some way, shape or form we do hope to do some shows next year.”

Collectively, Strike the Colours have been part of a wide range of influential Scottish bands, and coming together they create ethereal, emotional music that takes the listener on a journey through fear, worry and hope, emotions many of us can relate to. While the group may not have any solid plans to perform or tour going forward, it seems we'll be hearing more from Reeve and co. in some form or another in the near future. “Every time I think that things are starting to wind down a bit, something else comes up… it never seems to end,” Reeve laughs, “I’m fine with that, so long as it feels like the right thing to do, I’ll continue to do it”

Flock  is released on 30 Nov via Deadlight Records
Strike the Colours play The Hug & Pint, Glasgow, 16 Dec