Catherine Pockson and Bob Matthews, known for creating moody electro pop under the name of Alpines, have released a beautiful new track ‘Alright’ from their latest Album ‘Full Boom’.
They began making music together in 2010, eventually merging Bob’s production skills and Catherine’s singing talent to form the London based band. “One weekend Bob played some of his production work and I just started singing along to what he had created. Soon after that, we were writing music together regularly.” After collating a body of songs, they decided to do their first show together as Alpines.
Since then, they have been carving a cult following in alternative pop, collaborating with artists such as Sub Focus and Lana Del Rey, whose ‘Blue Jeans’ track were invited to remix; and supporting act for the likes of The XX, Florence & The Machine and Emeli Sandé.
While their core influences have always revolved around the music they grew up listening to, Full Bloom is confidently eclectic in its frame of reference and comes across as their most sure-footed work yet. “Prince, Aaliyah, Frank Ocean, Lauryn Hill, Aretha Franklin, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Kelela, ‘90s rave culture and Massive Attack are just some of the muses channeled for this album.”
The beautiful body of work that is ‘Full Bloom’ has been influenced by so many different elements, one being youth culture. “One song in particular called ‘Too Young’ is about the struggles of growing up. There is so much pressure on the youth of today with social media being a constant presence. It’s hard for people growing up now to have a respite from constantly comparing themselves to other peoples’ lives and that is seriously affecting people’s mental health. Everyone needs to have a bit of space to be themselves and not worry about how people are going to judge them 24/7.”
Social media is one of the leading causes for young people’s mental health today, but Catherine also mentions the positives it has too. “I really feel like a shift is taking place with people coming off Facebook and trying to spend less time on the Internet. Don’t get me wrong, the internet is so important for building communities and helping positive things grow, but there needs to be a balance and young people’s minds and hearts need to be protected.”
Their latest single ‘Alright’ was written shortly after watching The OA on Netflix, which also heavily influenced the creation of the album. The official audio video for the single shows footage shot on film from a 90s style camcorder with a Tumblr-esque pink sunset as the opening scene, reminiscent of the cinematography aesthetics from The OA. “We were very inspired by the world Brit Marling had created. We loved the intricacies of the different characters, the way it conveyed the intensity of growing up, the difficulties that brings and the power of first love. Youth and youth culture have had a big impact on the lyrics of this album and ‘Alright’ is written for our generation.”
When Catherine and Bob aren’t making records together, they watch different series on Netflix and surprisingly, both love shows about sport. “We have loved watching ‘Last Chance U’ on Netflix. The show highlights the intensity of what students have to go through to realise their dreams in football, and in some cases, under very traumatic circumstances with very difficult backgrounds. It is also amazing how the teams come together as a community and how the sport can provide a future for them. It is also great watching people be incredible at a sport, we find a lot of inspiration from that.”
Another thing Catherine and Bob have in common is their passion for spreading positive messages to their fans through their songs. “With ‘Alright’, we wanted to reach out to people and tell them it is going to be ok – we all need to hear that sometimes.” Catherine continues, “Listening to music helps me feel less alone with the things I am going through and I want to do the same for our fans.” Promoting awareness about environmental issues is also what inspired them when coming up with the album title. “We decided to name the album Full Bloom because the title track of the same name is about climate change and the crisis that we are in right now with it. We wanted this album to honour the earth and to put a positive message out there in the world for people to really ignite and make positive changes for the environment. The key lyric in that track being: ‘everything has to change’. We are in a pivotal time where positive steps can make a huge impact for the future for the better.”
Since their first album ‘Oasis’, their musical talent has evolved and blossomed, with ‘Full Bloom’ being a clear representation of just how beautifully refined their sound has become. “So much has happened in our lives since the first record and as you grow as a person the music evolves with you. Also you learn your craft and learn what works for you and what doesn’t. You also have a greater instinct for things as time goes on and you learn more about yourself which is also important in defining your sound and how you want to project yourself into the world.” Bob also agrees with their musical progression, “We have always strived to keep evolving musically – I think you can hear that across our early singles and three albums we’ve written so far. Bands can quickly become irrelevant when they are just churning out the same thing album after album.”
To keep to the theme of the album’s title, Catherine and Bob describe each other using flowers and plants as references. “I would describe Bob as a Hollyhock flower, which are some of my favourite when they bloom. They are really tall (like Bob) they are really vibrant but quintessentially British (Bob loves the English countryside) and they have a really uplifting feel about them and come in lots of different colours and I love how they line the streets in villages across the UK in summertime. Bob is a very positive and uplifting person who is very present, you can’t ignore him when he is in a space so I wanted to choose a flower that represents that side of him.”
“I think Catherine would be an oak tree because she is very wise and full of powerful natural instinct – she always sees things before they happen. She also has an amazing ability to feel other people’s feelings; it’s what makes her a good songwriter. It’s recently been discovered that some trees can sense the health of others nearby through their root networks. Catherine has this power.”
Upcoming album ‘Full Bloom’ is, “the sound of us fulfilling our potential” in the band’s words and is set to be released on the 16th November, so make sure to check them and listen to their latest single now.