The latest UNKLE album was released on Friday 18th August 2017.
Philip Sheppard has been working with UNKLE for the last 14 years, as a writer, cellist and orchestrator. Last year, Lavelle and Sheppard presented an UNKLE event at London’s Somerset House fusing the visuals of Stanley Kubrick and the band’s music.
After a rollercoaster twenty-five year career as an artist, curator and tastemaker, James Lavelle returns with UNKLE’s fifth studio album: The Road Part 1.
The Road Part 1 is a collection of fifteen new UNKLE tracks inspired following James’s curation of 2014’s Meltdown Festival at Southbank, their most successful to date.
The Road Part 1 is a collective creative venture by musicians including London folk-rock artist and poet Keaton Henson, Primal Scream’s Andrew Innes, The Duke Spirit’s Liela Moss, long time UNKLE collaborator Mark Lanegan, and Mercury prize nominee ESKA.
Lavelle also found new friends and collaborators in Queens of the Stone Age drummer Jon Theodore and Beck drummer Justin Stanley, who make definitive contributions throughout the record.
Recorded in London and Los Angeles’ Pink Duck Studios, The Road Part 1 is the product of a desire to create something fresh and innovative, that also celebrates the rich history of UNKLE, and showcases a new wave of talent such as Elliott Power, Mïnk and YSEÉ.
Lavelle set out to make a record that tapped into the multicultural landscape of modern London. His mission was to unite the eclectic mix of ideas, cultures and genres under the UNKLE umbrella and create something unique.
James Lavelle praises the role of collaboration, and its important at the core of the project:
“I hadn’t made a record in a long time, and the incarnation of UNKLE had changed in that now, it was me on my own. For that reason, I wanted to make a record that I hadn’t been able to before, going back to the roots of where I came from, with a foot in modern London”.
In July last year UNKLE released their first single in seven years. Lavelle teamed up with Elliott Power, Mïnk and YSEÉ for the gospel infused Cowboys or Indians. Followed by Sick Lullaby in February 2017, his second collaboration with Keaton Henson. Sick Lullaby is tender and cinematic, a beautiful lullaby that empowers Henson’s delicate vocals.
The latest track from The Road Part 1, Looking For The Rain, is a call to arms in our turbulent modern world, written by Lavelle and Mark Lanegan.
The masterfully curated list of visual collaborators extends to the physical release of The Road Part 1, which will include a 36-page booklet featuring artwork by contemporary luminaries including Turner Prize nominee Nathan Coley, John Isaacs, David Nicholson, Norbert Schoerner, Doug Foster, Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones. It was designed by James Lavelle and up-and-coming designer George Stewart-Lockhart.