Ben Watt – “Irene” (Feat. Alan Sparhawk)

We caught up with Everything But The Girl’s Ben Watt back in 2016. At the time he was rolling out his third solo album, Fever Dream, which featured collaborations with Marissa Nadler and Hiss Golden Messenger. This January he’ll be back with the fourth, Storm Damage, and today he’s shared a great new song from it.

On the new track “Irene,” Watt is joined by Low’s Alan Sparhawk, who sings harmony vocals and plays electric guitar. It’s an ideal accompaniment for the song’s central substance, which amounts to Watt crooning with earthy singer-songwriter gravitas over a finger-picked metal resonator guitar and a synthetic tape loop. In a press release, Watt explains “Irene” and how Sparhawk became involved with it:

It is about the power of nostalgia and the artist-audience relationship, which seems to obsess us all at the moment. It is also about the simple brutality of social change — how cities move on, scenes die, and how people get caught up in that. I asked Alan to play on the song after we did a show together in Minneapolis in 2016. We have been friends for fifteen years since I remixed a Low song in 2004. I thought his restless, scratchily emotional guitar style would be perfect.

Sparhawk also shared a statement:

For years Ben has been a glaring example of brave and versatile songwriting. Our conversations are always about songs and love for music, so it was a great pleasure and adventure to sing and play on his new record. I had to really step up my game to even hang in the room with him, but I’m honored to have been there.

Hear “Irene” below along with prior single “Sunlight Follows The Night.”

01 “Balanced On A Wire”
02 “Summer Ghosts”
03 “Retreat To Find”
04 “Figures In The Landscape”
05 “Knife In The Drawer
06 “Irene”
07 “Sunlight Follows The Night”
08 “Hand”
09 “You’ve Changed, I’ve Changed”
10 “Festival Song”

Storm Damage is out 1/31 on Unmade Road. Pre-order it here.

CREDIT: Antonio Olmos