James Righton (formerly of Klaxons) shares new track ‘Devil Is Loose’

James Righton press photo
Photo credit: Raffaele Cariou

After being known as the frontman of the Klaxons, recording with Arctic Monkeys, and crafting his Shock Machine project, James Righton is now set to release his debut solo album ‘The Performer’ on March 20, 2020 via the Soulwax-run label DEEWEE. James has shared another new track lifted from the album titled Devil Is Loose. Listen to the track via SoundCloud below.

Devil is Loose is my take on the worrying rise of extremism / populism / nihilism,” Righton explains. “Musically I wanted it to sound like a bad acid trip with the devil.”

‘The Performer’ LP stands in stark contrast to the electro-hedonism of Righton’s work with Klaxons. Instead, it spins through various points from 1970 onwards. It touches on the suave art-lounge of Roxy Music, the jangly grooves of R.E.M., the sumptuous psychedelia of latter-day Beach Boys, and the songwriting gift of Nick Lowe. In short, it uses classic elements as the groundwork for something which feels a natural fit for 2019. The album flits between two core themes. Fatherhood has changed Righton’s life. It’s altered the relationship with his wife Keira Knightley, which he explores on the 90s-tinged pop-rock of Start and the crescendo that soars through Lessons In Dreamland, Pt2. But there are simpler emotions too, with the unrequited love and sweet harmonies of Edie, a song he wrote for his daughter when she was just a few days old. There’s also a palpable sense of anger at a world in seemingly perpetual decline. The elegiac Heavy Heart is a downbeat break-up song for the UK’s relationship with Europe, while See the Monster explores Righton’s disgust at the hate, extremism and division which followed in the wake of the Brexit referendum result. It’s a theme that continues with the anti-populist Devil Is Loose, drawing on imagery in-spired by Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’ and sounding like “a bad acid trip with the devil.”

‘The Performer‘ was written, performed and produced by James Righton, with the help of some select collaborators. James Ford (The Last Shadow Puppets, Simian Mobile Disco) performed drums throughout and bass on two tracks; Sean O’Hagan (High Llamas, Microdisney) contributed string arrangements; saxophone was provided by Jorja Chalmers (Bryan Ferry); and Josephine Stephenson (Thom Yorke, Ex:Re) contributed additional piano and string arrangements. 

It was recorded at a handful of locations, notably Righton’s home studio, Bryan Ferry’s Studio One. It was subsequently mixed by David and Stephen Dewaele (aka Soulwax, aka 2manydjs) at DEEWEE in Ghent, Belgium.

James Righton The Performer artwork

Track listing
1. The Performer
2. Edie
3. See The Monster
4. Devil is Loose
5. Lessons In Dreamland, Pt1
6. Are You With Me?
7. Start
8. Heavy Heart
9. Lessons In Dreamland, Pt2

Pre-order ‘The Performer’ LP: https://smarturl.it/jr_the_performer

Live dates
3/25/2020 – London, UK – Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club