Together With Catholic Action
By Robin Ecoeur
Third Outing caught up with the brain behind Catholic Action Chris McCrory to find out more about their upcoming record, their influences and much more!
Hello Catholic Action. Give us a run down of the band?
Hello Third Outing! I'm Chris and I sing and play guitar. Jamie plays bass, Andrew plays the guitar and Ryan bangs the drums.
Catholic Action's sound in one sentence?
L.U.V songs played on guitars. Or somewhere between 70's Glam Rock and Post-Punk, I think. Possibly for fans of Big Star, The Yummy Fur & Thin Lizzy. I don't like having to describe our music because it's difficult and I'm lazy. We don't really think about it to be honest. I just like melody, classic Pop structures, guitars and I just follow what excites me when I write, or when we're in the studio.
L.U.V is out now! Tell us more about it?
L.U.V is a nursery rhyme about a listed building and a particular party that took place in it a few years ago. It was a total, out of the blue, stream of consciousness song that was written in about 5 minutes and is probably all the better for it. It's fun, it's bouncy and it goes down well at parties. I've been annoying my neighbours with the 7" test pressing. I'm proud of it; it's always nice to have your music on vinyl.
"We all think the first three albums by The Cribs are completely underrated masterpieces. Ryan Jarman is the ultimate anti-hero guitar player".
Talk us through the recording of your upcoming LP. Can you tell us any details about it yet?
We're currently spending all our time down in London, recording a huge batch of songs with the very talented Ms Margo Broom. Working with her was a bit of a eureka moment for me. We just clicked. She's much more Rock and Roll than I am and she takes us right out of our comfort zone musically; really challenges us to really push ourselves sonically. We've never been this excited in a recording studio before. And despite our insane working habits, we've never felt so… healthy. Details to follow.
The Shallows, New Year, L.U.V, Catching Up... are these going to feature on the début?
I change my mind on this every five minutes. Currently it's like this: Definitely. Maybe. Probably. Maybe. We'll just see what feels right when those final mixes are finished. We're definitely making an 'album' though. We want it to make sense when played cover to cover.
3 things about Catholic Action people don't know yet?
First, the term Glam Rock really makes me cringe. It's so nasty. I just wanted to be in Big Star. Secondly,I question why I am doing this with my life every single day. I usually answer that question at some point every day too. Finally, we all think the first three albums by The Cribs are completely underrated masterpieces...Ryan Jarman is the ultimate anti-hero guitar player.
We just heard the Silver Jews Cover. It's an interesting cover! Why this song?
I was an obsessive fan of this band when I was younger and I'd definitely consider David Berman a big song writing influence. American Water was the first Silver Jews record I owned and it had Stephen Malkmus on guitar; another huge influence for me. We picked this song because it's a scrappy, morbid sing-along love song. The kind of song I wish I'd written.
"I think Parquet Courts are doing really interesting things with guitars. It's pure - no reliance on effects - and the melodies are all so simple, but they're beautifully odd, angular and inverted".
You've been in studio with Bill Ryder Jones. Did the latest sessions turn out the way you thought it would?
It was really flattering when Bill got in touch saying he was a fan. He makes the kind of records I truly love. Well written, thoughtful and overtly melodic guitar music. We recorded a couple of tracks with Bill in Liverpool last year. They might see the light of day, they might not. As an engineer/producer myself I'm pretty picky when it comes to the sonics of a record and to be honest, I wasn't in a very good place at the time personally. You don't need to listen very hard to Bill's records to know he understands what I'm talking about here. We all still keep in touch, though, and we had a nice catch up at his Glasgow show the other night. He is someone I'd definitely like to work with again, though perhaps under different circumstances.
We like to ask this...what do you think about the health of the art of the guitar solo these days?
My favourite solos are simple and melodic, they're there to make a song better, not to further a guitar player's ego. I've never really appreciated the "guitar solo" when it's used simply to show how quickly a player can move their fingers. I don't know if you'll have heard of them? But listen to the guitar solo in Michelle by The Beatles. That's a perfect guitar solo.
I think Parquet Courts are doing really interesting things with guitars. It's pure - no reliance on effects - and the melodies are all so simple, but they're beautifully odd, angular and inverted. Most importantly though, they're incredibly catchy.