Released exactly 40 years to the month after he first started performing in bands in his native North West of England, Tim Bowness’s Always The Stranger is a vibrant offering that shows an artist unafraid to play with the possibilities of his music.
Featuring a brilliant rhythm section comprising Richard Jupp (in his first major session since leaving Elbow) and Nick Beggs, the song also features Martha Goddard from The Hushtones performing the haunting backing vocals.
The striking graphic video by Crystal Spotlight highlights the radical shift in artwork (by Carl Glover) featured on Tim’s forthcoming album Butterfly Mind.
Written by Bowness and produced by Bowness with Brian Hulse, the lyrics – chronicling a paranoid ‘outsider’ unable to cope with the pace of cultural change – offer a reflective counterpoint to the music’s nagging insistence.
Tim says, ‘The title of the song derives from the name of my first ever 1980s solo project. Despite being pretty experimental – I was a very intense teenager! – ATS got a lot of very welcome support from local media (BBC GMR, Piccadilly Radio, Manchester Evening News and Warrington Guardian, in particular). In some ways, the lyric is something of a ‘what might have been’ or even ‘what may be’ scenario. It’s about what can happen when you don’t embrace change or challenge and creative restlessness gives way to fearful stasis.’
Mixed and mastered by Bowness’s long-term partner in No-Man, Steven Wilson.