Sons And Daughters Featurette
In the summer of 2006, Sons And Daughters holed up in a house in the village of Adfern on the west coast of Scotland. They had no television, no telephones, and worked on new songs in a converted barn for eight hours every day. 'We wrote and practiced all day and played poker and got drunk at night. We were committed to writing a great pop record,' says Adele Bethel. 'We all love Blondie and The Smiths and we wanted to embrace that and not repeat what we had done before. Then we thought: who would be the perfect producer for a record like this?'
Domino's Laurence Bell suggested Bernard Butler, and all being huge Suede fans the band agreed. This Gift bears out that Butler and Sons And Daughters make a winning combination, although it didn't always feel like that at the time of recording. 'He's very, very tough,' says Scott Paterson. 'He doesn't sugar-coat anything and we had a lot of clashes. Then we heard the playbacks of the songs and it all began to make sense.' Adds Adele: 'At first it was his way or no way. Then Scott got talking to him about Joe Meek and Bert Jansch and we started to click.'
Amongst other things the band love are girl groups, the Heath Robinson-like pioneering genius of the British producer Joe Meek, the tarnished glamour of 60s provincial Britain, and soaring melodies. It was this side of Sons And Daughters that Butler was interested in. 'I only had to bring out what was there already,' he says. 'The new songs they had written were filled with strong melodies and wonderful lyrics, and I wanted to make the most out of Adele's lovely voice. Every band has a comfort zone, which in Sons And Daughters' case was the sound they had fashioned so far. It is the producer's job to take them out of that and find what they're capable of. '
The songs on This Gift offer glimpses of a romanticized Britain; a result of the band spending so much time out of the country, on the road, and going to US states like Montana where Adele visited a rest stop bathroom to see a notice board listing 100 women in the area that had gone missing. 'Things like that play on your mental state and fire your thoughts,' she says. Scott couched the stories and sentiments in Adele's lyrics with suitably elegant guitar parts. 'I was looking for ways to expand the sound, to use as many different guitar styles as possible,' says Scott. 'Then Bernard brought in the Gibson 335 12-string that Johnny Marr played on Strangeways, Here We Come and that was like Excalibur. The power of the Gods was with us.'
Through a combination of committed songwriting, a classic pop sensibility and a little bit of tough love from Bernard Butler, Sons And Daughters have made a brilliant record. It was hard, but it was worth it.