All photography by Third Outing©
After a 3 year hiatus The OK Social Club return in style with the release of their hotly anticipated new album Baby Eat Your Heart Out. Could this be the big year for the Edinburgh boys? Third Outing caught up with front man Raff Eragona and listened to the new record to find out.
When I first asked enigmatic front man Raff what he thought to The OK Social Club's new record the response I received wasn't entirely what I was expecting. 'It's different to our first, it's a lot deeper, more personal and we think it is just a better record. But we love our pop, so it's still very much pop music. We're looking forward to people's reactions, it certainly went down better than we expected live last night'.
OK, well, the first bit is exactly what I was expecting. The OK Social Club have returned to being a band again for the first time in years with the release of their new album Baby Eat Your Heart Out, and yes, it is a stormer. It's more dynamic than the 2013 release of Nothing In Common, the lyrics relate, there is a clear running order and mood in the album, and a sense of establishment has arisen from the confident Edinburgh punk poppers. But there was a sense of hesitation within Raff's answer..."it certainly went down better than expected".
I wondered how they expected it to go down? Badly? But then you realise that The OK Social Club isn't really a band who have been together for years. When Nothing In Common was released the band barely knew each other, and what's more over the last 3 years there have been line-up changes and personal issues which have delayed the new release. In short, The OK Social Club, despite being on their second full length release, are essentially a brand new band.
'It was like trying to get to know someone while on a roller-coaster, drunk'.
'The band had only been together for the best part of a year back then and because we were keen to get out and play live as quickly as possible, we just ended up playing a lot of stuff that I'd written before we even knew each other. We were learning about each other while signing our first record deal, releasing our first single and playing out on the road. It was like trying to get to know someone while on a roller-coaster, drunk. I feel like we would've done something more similar to Nothing in Common had we went right back into it. We certainly feel like our best work is ahead of us now. We've now proved to ourselves that we can evolve and better ourselves in the process'.
But it isn't until track 5 of the new record that we get something truly new. Women And Children First is the special song on the new album. It's a real stirring song. The solo guitar introduction followed by the catchy heart-felt melody could be The OK Social Club's first truly special moment. The new found Synth is the until now missing dynamic of The OK Social Club and by the time the main crashing chorus arrives some 2 minutes in, the echoed heart felt "Ahhhs" confirm that The OK Social Club are back and on the up with their new album. Other strong tracks include Old School Down, Keeping Up Appearances and the final song In A Heartbeat, an absolute powerhouse which finishes this rather contemplative album with one awe-inspiring massive crash of the cymbal. It's an album which portrays song-writing of the highest standard and leaves one wondering, how do they do it?
'I've been thinking about this a lot recently and I really don't know where some of the music, melodies or words come from; it's a very strange thing to be able to do actually. Sometimes I have certain feelings or specific things that I write about but I must just pick things up subconsciously and over time need to express them'.
It's a lucky skill to have, that's for sure, and it's one that Raff and The OK Social Club don't seem to take likely. Having seen the boys play live sets in recent months at both Studio 24 and Three Sisters, and watching them improve on-stage in terms of confidence, tightness and raw energy, Baby Eat Your Heart Out is a true example of one of Edinburgh's recent great live acts finally replicating their hard-earned sound on record. Magnificent! .