Everything just cleared up
Even the city’s been cleaned up
Caught a contour in the distance
Overhead a fine glimpse of myself
Sometimes, a band needs an internal shakeup to reignite their creative fire. In a recent twist of fate, the Belgian post-punk ensemble Whispering Sons found themselves in the midst of a seismic reconfiguration. Drummer Sander Pelsmaekers, sidelined by nerve damage, discovered a fresh muse in the world of synths. Meanwhile, bassist Tuur Vandeborne took the reins behind the drum kit, and the band’s long-time sound wizard, Bert Vliegen—an accomplished producer in his own right—picked up the bass guitar. Guitarist and mastermind Kobe Lijnen, alongside the enchanting vocalist and wordsmith Fenne Kuppens, maintained their roles but embarked on transformative journeys to reinvent their artistic approach for The Great Calm. As the lineup underwent this tectonic shift, these dynamic changes propelled them into a creative haven within their own unique blueprint.
“I think the most important thing about us is that we met as a group of friends and started the band,” notes Kuppens, “this is something that came out of a love for music and an eagerness to play together. And now we’re 10 years further. Not that much has really changed. The dynamics are always the same. We’re very close to each other, we’re very good friends, so to switch things around was easy.”
As a result,Whispering Sons’ latest single, Walking, Flying, represents a refreshing departure from their previous work, showcasing a newfound sense of hope and optimism from the Belgian quintet. Both in its musical composition and lyrical themes, the track revolves around a singular concept.
“Walking, Flying was the first song we tried out live while still in the process of writing the album,” singer Fenne Kuppes explains. “As a result, it not only became a band’s favorite to perform, but also served as a reference point for the rest of the record.”
The music video directed by Heleen Declercq presents a series of surreal vignettes. It features an enigmatic building covered in fabric, reminiscent of the art installations by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. In this setting, the band interacts with and exalts the fabric-covered structure with dance, creating an intriguing visual narrative that complements the song’s themes of transformation and clarity. The use of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s style adds an artistic and mysterious layer to the video, enhancing its curious qualities.
Watch the video for “Walking, Flying” below:
Walking, Flying is Whispering Sons’ third and final taste of their forthcoming new album, The Great Calm, out on February 23 via [PIAS] Recordings.
Following the dark, expansive power of 2018’s ‘Image‘ and the minimalistic ‘Several Others‘ in 2021, Whispering Sons’ third album, ‘The Great Calm,’ signifies a complete reimagining and reconsideration of their musical direction. This evolution, however, has given rise to a collection of songs that still resolutely and distinctly bear the band’s signature imprint.
Recorded within a brisk four-week timeframe — two weeks at the Audioworkx studio near Eindhoven, Holland, followed by the final touches in early 2023 using a makeshift setup on Vlieland, a quaint Dutch island nestled just off the North Sea coast — the potency, vitality, and artistic splendor underpinning the creation of The Great Calm permeate each of its 12 tracks.
“Before, the songs were finished in my head but not in a way the group could grasp the full meaning of the idea,” Vliegen explains. “This time Bert and I worked on the demos for a couple of months before we sent them to the rest of the band. Then Fenne could start writing lyrics.” A native Flemish/Dutch speaker (“although speaking isn’t my forte,” she suggests bashfully), a study of literature at university led Kuppens to adopt English as her songwriting tongue. “I’m not really a writer, per se, I find the idea of getting your thoughts onto paper really hard,” she confesses. “It can be a big struggle for me, but I start writing when I’ve got a deadline or something I have to do like a song, so I only write for the band really.”
Encouragement then came from an unexpected quarter, American poet Louise Glück. “The funny thing was that when I finished that first song, I took up a book of poetry by Louise Glück and there were exactly the same themes and images in those poems,” recalls Kuppens. “I was like, ‘this can’t be a coincidence’ so I started exploring that and I created a framework, a story for the whole record. Once I had a story figured out, I let go of it because I felt it also limited the writing, you don’t want to get stuck within a framework. But once I got through that process the ideas for each song just became very clear.” The creative connection to Glück went deeper still, with the poet – inadvertently – helping to name the album.
“There was just one verse where she wrote about the great calm and I was like, ‘wow!’ It felt very cinematic,” Kuppens adds. “I like the sense of grandeur in a phrase like The Great Calm. It just really describes what the characters in the songs are striving for, this sense of peace and calmness, but it’s also something that’s probably non-existent too because it sounds too much like a dream. It’s just too big a concept and I find that scale funny but in a serious way. So it fits the album because everything is about moving forward. The record is more hopeful, there’s more beauty in it. Our last album was very dark and always very destructive. I guess this one is still a bit destructive, but there’s hope in that destruction.”
Pre-order The Great Calm here
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