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Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
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Graham Clark
Features Writer
6:39 PM 14th October 2020

The Return Of Matt Bianco

In 2015 a string of encounters led Matt Bianco lead singer Mark Reilly to combine forces with Amsterdam based jazz pioneers New Cool Collective for a collaboration that resulted in an album entitled ‘The Things You Love’. Reilly subsequently released another successful Matt Bianco album in 2017 entitled ‘Gravity’ and toured around the world to promote it.

Fast forward to early 2020, and both parties found themselves recording together again in Amsterdam, adding the South American cumbia and other new sounds to their joint fascination with Latin, jazz, soul and R&B.

“Although I attended some rehearsals in Amsterdam to work on arrangements of song ideas NCC had put together, I deliberately didn’t present many song ideas myself. For me it would be an interesting challenge as the essence of collaboration is that creatively you arrive at a piece of work you wouldn’t have thought of if you had written everything yourself,” explains Mark Reilly.

The coronavirus pandemic struck in the middle of the sessions, resulting in further recordings having to be made from a distance. Continues Reilly:

“It was quite daunting at first when NCC sent me ten backing tracks from their live recording sessions to work on in my studio in the UK, but I soon got into it, sending rough mixes back to them for comments as the tunes became complete with melodies, vocals, lyrics and sometimes rearrangements of the tracks.”

After a period of intense online collaboration, the album took shape.

“I started doing the mixes and sending them over to NCC for comments and after making a series of adjustments back and forth we arrived with an album we were all really excited about,” Reilly recalls.

The result is ‘High Anxiety’, a record that sees both parties taking a giant step forward from their first project together and one that ranges from brisk uptempo numbers such as the title track to the mysterious cumbia-influenced ‘When the Ghosts Come Out to Play’.

The new single The Spice of Life is out now with the new album High Anxiety released on 27th November.