Released 24th October 2011
Gorgeous debut album from the latest inheritor of her family’s great musical pedigree, featuring guest appearances by Richard Thompson, Martha and Lucy Wainwright, Sean Lennon and Matt Johnson
* * Launch gig @ The Bowery, London 15th November * *
“I’m in it for the devastation. That’s always been my thing with music.” - Kami Thompson
Love Lies doesn’t sound like anyone’s first record – but that’s what it is. The album tells stories of separation, departure and disappointment, stories that could only have been written by someone with an unflinching heart. The potency of these songs is both casual and brutal, and their smoky blue heart-break suggests a lot of hard living packed into relatively few years. But there’s a self-assuredness at work here as well, a lack of histrionics and a dry wit – as well as an unexpectedly rich voice, woody, resonant and shiver-inducing.
As well as Kami’s own self-penned tunes, Love Lies features a gorgeously torchy cover of George Harrison’s Don’t Bother Me – the Beatles being long-time favourites, along with the Kinks, and Nilsson. Other influences include the likes of PJ Harvey, who she is “still mad about,” and also Jeff Buckley – “which was why I was so thrilled to have Matt [Johnson, Buckley’s long-term drummer] play on the record.” During the writing of Love Lies, in the mid-Noughties, she toured with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy in the Antipodes as a backing-singer, and the singer’s influence has run deep. “He’s a capricious, interesting, lovely creature. I adore him.”
Kami is born to British musical royalty, the youngest daughter of Richard and Linda Thompson, but her parents’ rich legacy didn’t influence her until her late teens. “When I was growing up it was like, Folk music? Ugh!,” she laughs. “But then, I started listening to them and loved them.” Her favourites included the albums Hokey Pokey - ‘The Sun Never Shines On The Poor’ - love that. And ‘God Loves A Drunk’ from Rumor And Sigh. There is a lot of excellent misery there.”
Kami remains “fiercely close” with her family. Not only does her debut feature her father on guitar and her brother with voice and guitar but also contributions from her friends: Sean Lennon, Matt Johnson, Lucy Wainwright, Martha Wainwright (particularly great in the rapturous backing vocals of 4000 Miles). “I’m Martha’s biggest fan,” says Kami, “It’s so visceral with her.” Martha’s husband Brad Albetta produced alongside Ed Haber. “When I was a teenager, my brother was living in LA, so I’ve known all that lot since then,” she says of the gang of rock scions. “We’re thick as thieves, and they can always trump you, which is great – it makes you feel normal.”
Despite being used to playing with such well respected names, Kami was initially guarded about the recording process and sharing her own music. “I thought, Ohhhh, I don’t know if I want you all to hear this,” she says. “It was scary. My Dad and brother were really helpful – particularly my brother, he’d help me call people in for sessions and give me his opinions on the first mixes.” Mixed with the youthful excitement that came with making the record, there’s a palpable world-weariness on Love Lies that doesn’t make it obviously a young person’s album. ““It was so exciting making the album – I’d quit my job and moved to New York. But I’d had 5 years of being really, really fucked around personally. And I was feeling – yes, world-weary. That’s definitely where the songs come from.”
If all that sounds very serious and ‘wise beyond her years’, she will happily admit that “I think I’ve got less mature since I made the record. Love Lies is all self-indulgent break-up music. Stick with what you know! When I was writing those songs I had a naivety about relationships, and there’s still a shred of that there, I hope.” But naivety seems a bit harsh - a song like album closer Blood Wedding rings with hard-earned wisdom and cautious but indefatigable hope. Despite its title, there’s a lot of truth to be found on Love Lies...
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