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15

The Feeling: Creative Control Again

Christine Connallon By

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Jones followed," It was really gratifying because we put the album out in the UK and we had the best reviews that we've had in years. People are getting that it's honest. Dan's writing, the five of us together created this thing. It's got purity to it."

Part of the creative process carried over to the artwork for the CD cover as well as vinyl album cover. Of the eye-catching image of a boy standing under a helicopter, Gillespie-Sells explained," It was very instinctive. We knew we wanted a striking image. We knew we didn't want to have our faces on there, we've never been into that. We wanted an intriguing, cinematic kind of dark and kind of solitary thing to the artwork. And the idea of the boy, like almost a scene from an 80s Spielberg movie or something, that was always there. And it wasn't post production, that shot. It's really is a helicopter flying over the boy."

Jones excitedly tells the story of the lucky and fateful day. "I've got a pilot's license. I fly little fixed wing airplanes up at the airfield called Elstree Aerodrome (in London) and Dan has a photographer friend and we thought about doing some band shots with him as an experiment. Initially it was just the band being up there just to get an idea and some perspectives, to get access to the runway and different things at the airfield. And pretty much the day before we said, you know we have this idea involving something Spielberg-esque with a kid. We just need a kid and we can try it. And Paul had a friend. I've got kids but they were in school but the friend's kid was in preschool so his parents said, ok, we'll bring him down and they brought this cute little kid and we were taking some perspective shots on the runway and this friend of mine who owns several helicopters came over and said, "What are you doing?" I said we're taking shots and he said, do you want me to bring the helicopter out? Ok! So he did, he's got a Bell 47, Korean War era. There's only two in the UK that exist, amazing looking bubble thing with a spotlight on it and that's another thing, most recreational helicopters don't have a search light on it. So we thought it would be really cool if he flew down and shined the light on the kid. I think we got about 5 shots of him. And it was one of those things, all we did to the shot was there was some stuff on the horizon that was removed. But that's the only post, otherwise it's the shot. If you tried to organize that, hiring an airfield, hiring a helicopter, getting the insurance to fly a helicopter over a kid...firstly the budget would have been through the roof, secondly you probably wouldn't have even got as good a shot!"

Gillespie-Sells agreed," That's part of being what an artist is, a bit like how we improvised in making that first album. We improvised. We're improvising again. Trusting our instincts and doing what artists always do, which is kind of make it up as you go along. Make sure that you stick to the theme and trust your instincts. And that's what happened with the videos that will tie in with it as well, that we recreated the shot as part of the video. "

The image is stunning, like the 11 songs on Boy Cried Wolf. The CD was mastered and sequenced as an album, with the song "Hides in Your Heart" serving as the last song on Side A with a little more of a gap in between songs . Side B begins with the haunting and melodic , "Empty Restaurant" featuring the lines "It's poisonous, poisonous/ It's hazardous, hazardous/ Falling in love had me on my knees." The swirling strains and clever lyrics belie the upbeat music at times. "Anchor" puts words to the feelings of loss: "I'm not your anchor anymore/ You can go sail another shore/ Now you've broke loose." "Rescue" beseeches the listener to "search through the wreckage once again" and scan for signs of life again. The lyrics are real, they strike chords and they are thoughts everyone can relate to. But the lines aren't force fed to listeners, a concerted effort on Gillespie-Sells' part.

"The title on the track "Blue Murder / Boy Cried Wolf" is all about not telling the whole story. Leaving your audience with gaps to fill in themselves. The album cover doesn't tell the whole story. Like a still from a movie, you don't know what's going to happen. The rest is up to your imagination. Same with the videos we shot to go with it, it's intriguing and sets you up in the right direction, but the rest is up to you. If you're concise and you're artful about it, it's a nice thing to do. It's respectful to the audience rather than laying it all out all the time."

They may want to leave things to their fans' imagination, but these two are transparent as fans of music themselves. "We were looking for David Bowie today," Jones said with a twinkle in his eye. "We were driving around and we just sort of feel like one day we'll drive around New York and go, there he is! He still has that mystique somehow, in this celebrity driven world."

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