Groove Armada's Tom Findlay Tells His Late Night Tale on 'Music for Pleasure'
Music for Pleasure. The name says it all. In some respects, however, Music for Guilty Pleasure may have been a more accurate title for the latest instalment in the Late Night Tales compilation series.
Compiled by Groove Armada’s Tom Findlay, the album dives gloriously, unashamedly into “blue-eyed soul,” as Findlay calls it. “The kind of music that’s so wrong that it’s right,” he says.
But although the tracklist may raise a few plucked eyebrows across Dalston's ever-judgemental plains, it is, in fact, a stellar collection of vintage tunes that most will have secret soft spots for, whether they admit it or not: Robert Palmer, Toto, The Steve Miller Band, ELO, Doobie Brothers… Those artists that you scoff at publicly but secretly crank up the volume to — they’re all here.
But the album is far more than just a novelty collection. It hones in on a distinctive vibe that ran through some late seventies and early eighties pop music streams. “Blue-eyed soul is what I call it,” says Findlay, “but I think that some people don’t really understand the term, so we decided that Music For Pleasure is a more get-holdable kind of idea. But it’s essentially blue-eyed soul, that’s the vibe. That sort of '70s, soft-rock, yacht-rock thing.”
It’s a notable departure from other instalments of the acclaimed Late Night Tales series (which has seen artists as diverse as Four Tet, The Flaming Lips, Belle and Sebastian and Trentemøller put together loosely nighttime-themed collections), not least Groove Armada’s two downtempo disco, sunwashed electro-pop contributions.
The are plenty of gems included on the compilation, but stand-outs include Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like an Eagle,” ELO’s gritty un-ballad "Showdown," and — yes — Toto’s “Georgy Porgy.” Yep, we went there, and we stand by our words. And as Findlay points out, the songwriting and production values of these tracks is second to none. And you know what? Anyone who doesn’t get at least a touch misty-eyed when hearing 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love” – the closing track to Music For Pleasure, has no soul. Simple as.
Also featured is a cover of Ace’s classic, “How Long?” which Findlay undertook with Tim Hutton, via their Sugardaddy moniker. It’s an impressively faithful cover version, complete with rolling falsetto vocals from Hutton. “We tried different versions of it,” explains Findlay, “a disco version, boogie version, and then came back round to do something that sounds very close to the original.”
By this point, it becomes clear that Findlay is indeed an aficionado of these heartfelt blue-eyed soul tracks that he so lovingly compiled. “I’ve been listening to this music incessantly for the last year,” he explains, “so it’s like I’ve got it out of my system and found closure in my obsession with by putting it down on record.”
Sociéte Perriér can exclusively reveal that Groove Armada’s performance at Lovebox festival in London this Saturday, June 16, will feature the duo performing a cover of “You Got The Love” with Candi Staton, the singer who performed the vocals on the original track.
Late Night Tales Presents: Music for Pleasure is out now.