Set for release on Skinny Dog Records on 4th October 2019, Weather The Storm is both a record of majestic folk beauty and a breathtaking cinematic experience from the recording/writing partnership of Nick J Webb (The Lea Shores / Nadine Shah) and vocalist Petra Jean Phillipson (David Holmes/Martina Topley Bird/Marianne Faithful).
To commemorate the album’s announcement today, the Skylark & The Scorpion are revealing the first two chapters of a 40-minute short film that accompanies the entire record. Following the emotional journey of the two star-crossed lovers: the Skylark and the Scorpion, viewers will be able to tune into a progressive narrative that will gradually unfurl their destiny with string of videos, each soundtracked by a song to be featured on the album. With a new instalment set to be unveiled every week leading up to the release of Weather The Storm in the Autumn, you can watch the gripping videos for opening tracks, ‘Weather The Storm’ and ‘Hey Lover’ now:
Guided by Petra’s inimitable siren song, lead single (and fittingly the first song Petra and Nick ever recorded together), ’Hey Lover’ flows through layers of languid orchestrations and rippling acoustic arpeggios, introducing us to the world of Skylark & The Scorpion with a glorious opening salvo. Speaking about the first glimpses of Skylark & The Scorpion’s artful and extraordinary AV project,
As with the rest of the film, the videos for ‘Hey Lover’ and ‘Weather The Storm’ were shot off the coast of Scotland in the middle of Winter, with the band, cast and crew battling against the harsh terrain and bitter elements in pursuit of this stunning visual accompaniment to the album.
As Nick reflects:
“‘Weather The Storm‘ provides the soundtrack to the film’s opening scene shot on our first day in Shetland at Esha Ness. I remember the weather being so changeable. One minute it would be snowing, the next it would be blazing sunshine with hail thrashing down. The light was incredible and the landscape was breath-taking. Lying down in a white suit and hanging over the cliff’s edge was nothing short of ‘terrifying’.”
Weather The Storm is the debut album by Skylark & The Scorpion; an ambitious musical odyssey that tells the tale of two haunted souls on their search for re-connection. A conceptual project formed around the pairing of creator, producer and songwriter Nick J Webb (The Scorpion), and vocalist Petra Jean Phillipson (The Skylark), the album finds the duo assume the roles of two ill-fated lovers as they traverse through a turbulent story arc told through the album’s captivating song cycle. A true labour of love and a long time in the making, the Skylark & The Scorpion record arrives at the end of a journey almost as epic in reality as it is in its fiction.
The origins of the Skylark & The Scorpion can be traced back several years ago to the shadows of Webb’s previous band The Lea Shores. Originally written as a collection of sonnets penned while he was experiencing difficulties in his personal life, Nick channelled the conflicting emotions of love and loss, passion and heartache he was feeling at the time into the raw and heart-felt lyrics at the very essence of ‘Weather The Storm’. As Nick wrestled with his demons during the recording of The Lea Shores’ self-titled debut album, it would be his introduction to Petra (who provided her euphonious vocals on the band’s track ‘Open Valve’) that would provide the initial spark to that would ignite their future as Skylark & The Scorpion together.
Collaborating from thereon with impromptu sessions at Nick’s childhood home in Suffolk, to a church attic in a nearby village, and even an office above a tyre garage in South East London; using a laptop and a borrowed microphone the pair began to lay down the demos of what would become Weather The Storm.
Over the ensuing years, the pair began to flesh out these musical skeletons with the assistance of a talented array of hand-picked musicians and friends. Contributions from ambient music composer Roger Eno (brother of Brian, who added piano and accordion to the mix) and orchestral arranger Nell Catchpole (on violin/viola), with additional contributions from Tim Harries (double bass), Jamie Spencer Smith (guitars), Fontane Liang (harp) and Nick Foot (percussion) saw the album begin to blossom into the elegant finished article we hear today. Webb, who also plays the cornet, then completed the album by adding brass arrangements, before sending the results to celebrated producer Ben Hillier for mixing (who had also produced The Lea Shores debut).
Finally releasing the results as Weather The Storm in 2019, this meticulously crafted album is a feat nothing short of remarkable. From the haunting haze of strings to the melodiously plucked harp, then the ethereal female voice that soars like a siren call, beseeching a lover to stay, Skylark & The Scorpion simultaneously tug at the heartstrings and nourish the soul. Their sweeping soundscapes swell, soothe and seduce like the titular lovers. Destined to be together forever, but fated to be separated ‘til eternity, their tale of doomed romance is the stuff of classical tragedy: the Scorpion watching helplessly as passion disintegrates around him; the Skylark seeking to save him before he slips away.