April 10, 2024

Today, Club Kuru, the London-based psych rock project led by Laurie Erskine, announce their new album Before the World (to be released 21st June) and release new single ‘Who Am I’. Listen to ‘Who Am I’ here and pre-save Before the World here.

Known for their mesmerising blend of classic songwriting with sensual guitars and introspective lyrics, Club Kuru recently released their first single ‘Gone Like A Flower’ after a five year hiatus. They solidified this return by releasing a DHR Studio session of the track which you can watch here

“‘Who am I?’ Is a cathartic song for me that deals with existential terror,” begins Laurie on the new track. “As I’ve got older, like many others, I have moments where I’m overcome with a sense of emptiness and no real purpose – constantly grappling with self-doubt and questioning past and present decisions”

The song’s musical structure broadly attempts to mirror Laurie’s experiences. Starting with a two chord vamp over a pedal, this acts as a platform to begin ruminating. The monotonous approach to the harmony both reflects this sense of being trapped in a cycle of self questioning but also provides a meditative mood that leads to an eventual change in chords and sense of resolution, even if only fleeting. 

Speaking of the recording process, Laurie continues, “When we recorded it first it was just me at the piano. I think that’s a pretty nice classic way to start a track. Gets you right to the heart of it early on. We recorded a basic track of keys, vocals, two guitars, bass and drums live. It was here we came up with the outro and switched up. We did that bit as a band. After that we layered up extra acoustic guitars and an electric guitar through a Leslie speaker, some organ parts and some heavily affected guitar parts. After all that I cut another vocal and we did the backing vocals on top of those. There wasn’t even a vocal for the outro until the last few moments of finishing the track”

Alongside the release of the new single, Club Kuru also announce their new album Before the World to be released on 21st June. Speaking on the forthcoming album, he says, “I feel like ‘Before the World’ is a very introspective record. Much of it came out of me sitting alone in the studio and just feeling quite sad. I would ask myself difficult questions and worry that there weren’t any resolutions coming to me. Lyrically, I started to move towards themes of life and death after a terrible loss in my family…and then around the same time, the lovely arrival of new life. Amidst these sombre and worried reflections, there’s a vague yet prevailing sense of hope weaving its way through the record. I definitely felt the weight lift when I finally completed it. Hopefully this sense of renewal shines through to the listener.”

Following the success of their two albums in 2018 and 2019, which garnered spots on the 6Music playlist and a sync on HBO’s High Maintenance, as well as touring alongside Jungle, the band encountered a creative block. “Basically, we couldn’t get anything finished,” explains Erskine. “I wrote a lot, but I couldn’t get anything over the line. I’m not sure why… I got a bit stuck with it all.” Eventually, the band parted ways to pursue diverse musical ventures, collaborating with esteemed artists such as Soweto Kinch, Moses Boyd, Yak, Michael Kiwanuka, Jungle, Little Simz and George Ezra

During his break from the band, Laurie Erskine sought solace and inspiration within the confines of his analogue studio in South East London. It was here he honed his skills as an engineer and rekindled his connection to his jazz heritage. Fuelled by this reinvigorated love of improvised music, Erskine assembled a new band, a fresh iteration of Club Kuru. 

Reunited, Erskine and his longtime Southeast London-based friends and seasoned musicians – Fergus Ireland (Bass), Artie Zaitz (Guitar), Marcus Preastgarrd (Guitar), Lydia Kitto (Backing vocals) and Fabio de Oliviera (Drums) – depart from the synth-heavy sound of previous releases, instead, delving into rawer, more reflective soundscapes inspired by classic rock of the 60s and 70s. Discussing his return to Club Kuru, Erskine reflects “I ended up doing this record completely differently. I had the song, I got people in and we played it all live and recorded to tape which limited the overdubbing to just the vocals. Doing it that way gave it this breath of fresh air – OK, it’s got mistakes in it, but the performance is just more emotive.”

Inking a deal with Absolute as distributors meant no concessions, and a sense of freedom. Club Kuru are free to deliver their precise vision – from the music itself, to the cover art, a neo-pagan visual spectacle constructed by Frederika Dalwood. Continually evolving, a fresh Club Kuru line-up have also recorded three new performance videos, shot live in Erskine’s bungalow come home studio. “It all feels a lot easier now,” he reflects. “Maybe I’m a bit better at this… or maybe being more relaxed is the same as being better. That’s the skill. The simple enjoyment of making music has really come back for me. I’m eager to get back to work…”