Reasons To Stay Alive, its title boldly acknowledging the themes and influence of best-selling author Matt Haig’s 2015 autobiographical book, is a unique project: a rich, colourful suite of gutsy, classic songwriting. Full of shades of Elton John, Supertramp and Queen, and with an emotional undercurrent that could not be more relevant in today’s world. Together the pair spin love stories, travel space and time, celebrate soul-mates and travel unflinchingly into the tenderer recesses of the mind.
The album burst into life over an intense first fortnight, with Andy Burrows (Razorlight, We Are Scientists) in Los Angeles and Matt at home in Hove. Each afternoon, piano parts with the kind of melodies Haig had never envisaged would arrive in his inbox. “As soon as I heard what Andy was doing, I couldn’t have imagined it any other way,” says Haig. “He had somehow unlocked the melody inside the words. It was so instantaneous, to have that back and forth. When you write books it’s not the same, that’s more like the musician-producer relationship. I’ve hated collaborations before!”
“The reason his words rang so true with me,” says Burrows, “is that the darkness of life is so important to filter, and take on board, and put back out – but these songs all have a trim of colour and an optimistic flare.”
Note: the LP is available on indies-only coloured vinyl.