Paul Henshaw

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FIVE COMPASS LIGHTHOUSE - What's it all about?!

Posted by on November 1, 2019 at 5:25 AM


Hey everyone,

New album is out as of 1st November 2019!!...

I did this a few years back for "YOU JUST LOST THE GAME" I wrote a little bit of uninteresting information about each song on the album so thought I'd do it again, maybe you'd like to hear it.


This isn't a song, merely a poem set to sounds that kicks the album off. There's train noises, foreign radio stations I got off this amazing app called "radio garden" (I love listening to that) and the noise right at the start is a Tibetan singing bowl my daughter bought me for Xmas years ago and that I've been promising to use on every album to date! The spoken word bit was difficult for me, I wondered if I was a bit "up my own arse" but I often get asked about what certain songs are about and I realized the whole album is a contradiction so wrote 2 poems, each with a line from each of the songs on the album in order. What I found was that you could write one very negative piece and one very positive piece, this is what bookcases the album.


This song was written in a big group of songs I wrote half way through the writing process, GLASGOW, 21 TRAINS, BIBLE CHORDS and about 6 songs that didn't make it were written in about 3 weeks, VOICES was one of that group. It's working title was "fiddle song" based on us just having a fiddle player in the band and I wrote it totally as a song to open the set with. The lyrical content is just about me being a bit of a dick at times and being sorry for that. It's been a set opener at various stages over the last few months and will be across the tour.


One of the last songs I wrote for the album I stole the title off the TV programme Deadliest Catch (I'm a massive fan of this show - you can probably guess that) The bit that resonated with me is how the crab fishermen throw lines and head off into the unknown which we could probably all do with doing every so often, I know I could. That in mind the subject of the song is someone I am very proud of for how they battle with all kinds of shit, keep smiling and stay supportive to the people in their life.


Pretty much the first song I wrote for this album. I wrote it when I lived in North Wales and it's about a house, my old house and the only home my parents ever lived in together. My whole childhood was there, it was the anchor of my life, and where I felt at home. 2 and a bit years ago I sold it and moved to the seaside, that's where the album title came from, the FIVE was the number of the old house, The COMPASS was finding my way to the new home and the LIGHTHOUSE is because I could see a lighthouse from my back garden. Moving was traumatic for me, at the time we had a band member leave and I spent 3 weeks emptying the loft of my Mum and Dad's life. The day I left I walked around and kissed every wall and touched every ceiling, it was shit. The song is more about being surrounded by a group of people who all thought I should be happy and bouncing about the move, which I was, I just needed a bit of time to grieve and have a break.


This is basically the story of the day I left the dream of living by the sea behind me, the most aggressive and noisy song of the lot. It's an introspective look at what I thought about myself that day. I drove the hundred miles from the house by the sea to where I'd moved to 6 times that day, 600 miles driving, moving boxes with my best mate Paul Bell and eating lots of Greggs caramel donuts. I wasn't sure if the main opening guitar part was a bit clichéd, what the band did to it input wise made me realize I didn't care, it's just a brilliant song to play, I enjoy it, they enjoy it and at the end of the day this whole thing should be FUN, when it's not I'll stop.


I know I write a lot of songs about me and stuff I've done, stupid stuff like lobbing a beer can at a policeman's head, or drunken nights in town, but this one's different for me. I was playing around with chords and wanted to have this repetitive electric line over the top so recorded the acoustic onto my phone and then messed with a picked line above it. I wrote 4 in the end and had to remember how to TAB so as not to forget them. I thought about moving around the 4 different parts or maybe just a couple of them but decided to stick with the one over and over. It was a bitch to record as when we record we all play together and this time in different rooms, knowing where the hell we were in the song was almost impossible without singing, I mean, we're not the Breeders are we? Still, we got there in the end.


I was on tour last year and went to the CZ Republic for more than a one off gig for the first time. I wrote the idea behind this song sat in a car park, freezing cold, waiting for hours to go and load in at that nights gig. After the show I found out that my sofa for the night hadn't materialized so was left with finding somewhere else or sleeping in the car. Angie (my partner) did some rapid hotel finding and found one close by which I spent 3 hours locating. I had a sat nav but hadn't factored in that sat navs can locate your position pretty accurately but it doesn't handle where you are height wise very well. Those 3 hours were spent looking for a hotel which I discovered after a very fraught phone call to the hotel desk was 100 feet beneath the bridge that I was standing on! The great bit about this, I was supposed to have travelled to Cesky Budovice and slept on a sofa and instead I woke up in a nice room, had a bath and then spent the day in a world heritage site, a truly beautiful city that I'd have missed if arrangements had held up.


I'm a late comer to Frightened Rabbit but I like them a lot. I'd only ever bypassed Glasgow and spent one night there when I worked for a company who had a plant there, I ate a 12 pc KFC bucket and watched a Eurovision highlights rerun, I was sure Glasgow had more to offer if I'm honest but had never made it back. This year Angie suggested we go for a weekend, it's her hometown, to see the sights, ride the trains, see some Lochs etc so we did. I was blown away by how at home I felt there, from the hardness of it all and freezing, biting cold wind, but then the warmth of the people and the countryside with such incredible views. I'm a bit of an engineering geek so there was lots to see. Back to the Frightened Rabbit bit, I wanted to be honest with this album, so for this song I recorded a little bit of Glasgow "Happening" from Scott Hutchinson's memorial bench, I didn't know where it was going to fit but if you have a song called Glasgow, you'd better bloody have Glasgow city sounds in the background and not some random British libraries audio clip eh?


Not a lot to say about this except there are 21 trains in there if you want to listen out for them.


Before I moved to Wales I was part parent to 2 cats called Dave. Black Dave was scared of leaves and light breezes, White Dave wanted to take over the world. White Dave would catch birds, Mice, Cattle, Giraffes and virtually anything that had a pulse, this one day he caught a Wren so I threw a bucket of water at him to chase him off then sat on the lawn trying to revive this poor little bird I failed. The wren died.


I promised to write this, and I did. I love this song, easily the frailest thing I've ever written, everything that everyone plays on this fits perfectly and Gareth's keys and noises take it way beyond what I thought it ever could be It's about wanting to be there to catch someone when they slip.


I don't do politics, I'm not sure I believe anyone in a position of power these days although I definitely lean one way over the other. However, there is a vile human being in the political arena today. In any other position in life he would be in prison or had been taken out and shot. What makes my shit itch is the fact he's still fucking here! I hate him. The song title is written in a way which his name (first 3 letters and last 3 letters) is in lower case, he doesn't deserve caps. I wanted a bouncy song so wrote this by standing at the end of my kitchen table and jumping up and down to a tempo I hoped people in a crowd would bounce to, let's see if that works.


One of the main body of songs that came out when I first moved house from the seaside but the one which took the longest to complete, I could never get the verse to fit, some might say it still doesn't. Gareth came up with the idea of getting some backing vocals done via people recording them on phones and sending them in, the "Whoahs" are made up of a load of people singing from all over the World. I was still unsure about the song till Dylan sent me a video of his drum parts and then i pretty much knew we'd got this one.


Yep, that's Frank Dog barking at the start, obviously! I'm not going to record an album and not have my buddy on it am I? This is as close to a musical picture I've ever written, it's about Mudeford Sandspit and a stay in a beach hut there. Angie came up with the idea that all dogs look happy, really happy, that in some way they all look like they're smiling. I started there sat on the seating bit at the back of the hut and pretty much wrote what I saw. From Abigail getting bored with the scooter, Henry not having any time for his sisters tantrum, the joggers struggling with their blue tooth while they run on the beach (surely waves work well as a soundtrack to a run????) it all happened in about 10 minutes It's a fabulous place to escape to. I think listening to this album and looking at the song subjects it's got a very strong location thread running through all the songs, maybe not so much where I was physically although that comes across, but more where I was in my head at the time.

I know I wrote about being in the CZ Republic, houses I spent my childhood in, a beach hut by the sea and a well known Scottish city but it's all relative to where I was in my head at the time of writing, some of those times were good and others weren't as good. It's very easy to get sucked into writing and recording an album, sometimes it's easy to lose sight of what I'm actually trying to say, it pretty much takes over your life and I found myself getting quite insular during this one, shutting myself off and pushing people away I normally wouldn't. I certainly have more grey hair! I can say this though, sat listening to the finished mastered album, writing what you're hopefully still reading, it was personally worth every single sleepless night, angry moment, the times where I pulled my hair out in desperation, it's a very healing thing to sit and listen to "it" finished. Anyway, that's it, 14 useless facts about the album. I hope you enjoy it; I do.

Love ph x

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