STRUGGLES WITH SYNTAX – PETRICHOR
After struggling with syntax, Struggles With Syntax are set to release their debut album, Petrichor, this November.
It’s been a curious year since London group Struggles With Syntax last graced listeners with their EP, UK Garage Floor Fillers Vol. 4.
Gathering together during the pandemic to work on their debut album, Petrichor, earning airplay from Amazing Radio (in particular from presenters/Pigs X7 members Johnny Headley and Mat Batty) and international radio stations, the band also found themselves embroiled with an issue using the word “syntax.”
“It was a really odd situation, we got a cease and desist letter through from some chap in the states who trademarked the band name Syntax” vocalist Jo Llewellyn-Jones divulges. “He managed to get our stuff taken offline, as well as a load of other bands and artists.”
“Struggles with Syntax in struggles with ‘Syntax’” was a headline that kind of wrote itself, but nobody wrote.”
Having dealt with that issue, there was still the matter of recording an album of songs the collective – Ben Humphreys, James Boote and Rory O’Connor – had never played together until the recording process.
“It was generally ideas that either Ben or James would start and then they’d get pinged about and knocked together as very rough demos.” O’Connor reveals. “We then booked 5 days in a studio and decided just to go for it, and that’s when the bulk was recorded. It was exhausting, and a bit grubby.”
Petrichor is a term to describe the fresh smell after a rainfall, which the band thought was not only a “cool word” but an apt description of what the album is about and how it was made. A sense of renewal.
Recorded at Gun Factory Studios by Humphreys, Petrichor is a luscious 12 tracks that feels wholly different to their previous EPs as the band looked to take listeners on a journey with each song. Unintentionally influenced by what the band have been through over the last few years, there are moments where semblance of hope and a realisation of a shared humanity that emerges.
Struggling to get and to do better becomes the accidental theme throughout the album. With a modicum of humour the band are known for, of course.
“That’s all down to Ben really,” Jones reveals, “his production is awesome, he’s always adding things that surprise the rest of us. I guess going into this we knew it would be some time, if ever, that we got to make an album again so we wanted to go all out.”
Lead single “Jung Dreams”, now streaming on MUZAI Records’ Soundcloud page, is a perfect example of the band’s new work; a brutal, aggressive, cathartic release at the very start of Petrichor, the band describe it as “weird” but with a big, anthemic melody.
The anthemic element is concurrent throughout the album – from the danceable, catchy chorus of “Ticky” to their stab at being a “massive stadium rock band” with “Hand Of God,” Petrichor has a pent up aggressiveness amongst its smirking moments that is freed as each track unfurls throughout the album.
That sensation of something fresh after a cleansing rainfall? It’s exactly what Struggles With Syntax have made with Petrichor.
PETRICHOR is available digitally and on cassette tape through MUZAI Records from November 15th 2021.