This past Friday, Franz Ferdinand announced that guitarist Nick McCarthy would be leaving the band for the time being, the group’s first lineup change in their 16-year history. The decision arose out of a desire to spend more time with his family rather than set out on another full-time recording/touring cycle for the latest Franz Ferdinand album. The band’s statement included that this leave of absence “is a great opportunity for him to explore some of his other musical interests,” and only one weekend later we are finding out the new project and the family time go hand in hand. Manuela is McCarthy’s musical collaboration with his wife, vocalist and songwriter Manuela Gernedel, and “Cracks In The Concrete” marks the couple’s first released single together.
Recorded at McCarthy’s studio Sausage in Hackney, London and co-produced by Sebastion Kellig, “Cracks Tn The Concrete” is slinky, understated dance-rock that shuffles along with echoing, escalating guitar lines and precise drums that snap with intent. “A baby was born in my house last night/ And I dreamt of money and success/ My friend got robbed outside his flat/ And I dreamt of a baby,” Gernedel sings in a nimble and nudging tenor. Here’s Gernedel explaining the inspiration behind the song:
Lyrically “Cracks In The Concrete,” like much of the album, is skipping back and forth between a narration and internal monologue. The line “cracks in the concrete” was partly inspired by the French phrase “sous les páves, la plage!” which came up during the student revolts there in May ’68. Roughly translated it says “there is sand underneath the pavement!” It’s talking about the potential of things breaking and breaking up things. Everything is morbid and falling apart and you have to keep on telling yourself that it’s going to work itself out (“everything is healing”).
Purchase “Cracks In The Concrete” here. Manuela’s debut album is expected to be announced sometime soon on Lost Map Records. It will include Jim Dixon (Django Django), William Reese (Mystery Jets), Roxanne Clifford (Veronica Falls), and Paul Thomson (Franz Ferdinand) as guests.