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Last Updated: Monday, 28 April 2008, 07:03 GMT 08:03 UK
The Music: Back from the brink
by Kev Geoghegan
Radio 1 music reporter

The Music
The Music's Rob Harvey (far-right)

One word crops up more than any other when The Music's frontman Rob Harvey talks about his band's new album. That word is "control" and for the first time in almost five years, the band say they have regained it.

Driven to the point of quitting, dropped by their label and battling with booze and depression, it could have ended entirely for The Music.

But Harvey insists the new LP, Strength In Numbers, is a reflection of where the band have been, where they are going but more importantly in his opinion, where they are at now.

He said: "It's about the times we're living in, the paranoia and the scaremongering that goes on.

"It's not easy being a part of the world nowadays with separation everywhere, especially in Britain. It's a call to anyone who feels lonely.

"It's about getting up again, it's a true representation of what we've been through."

North American tour

Back in 2001, both Radio 1's Steve Lamacq, then hosting the Evening Session, and the NME hailed the Leeds teenagers as one of the best unsigned bands in Britain, on the strength of a demo for Take The Long Road And Walk It.

It became their first single, leading to their self titled debut album which reached number four in the UK album chart in 2002.

The Music released their second album, Welcome To The North, two years later. It did well, reaching number eight in the chart, and led to a month long US tour with Kasabian in support.

Harvey said: "We were touring around America, we had Kasabian supporting us.

"It was their first time and they were all fresh and on the crest of a wave and we were on the way down. We were just so fed up.

"We got to the point where we were like, 'We need a rest from this otherwise we're just gonna destroy it'."

The Music
The Music are set to release Strength In Numbers on 16 June

It was during this time that Harvey admitted to having a drink problem on the band's official webiste and was diagnosed with depression. He told Newsbeat that he thought about quitting altogether.

He said: "Oh yeah, big time. Our communication skills were terrible as a band. We never talked, we never expressed how we were feeling, we just got on with it.

"For me as a singer, your confidence can be knocked so easily."

Time for a change

The band were eventually dropped by their label, Virgin, but continued jamming in the studio throughout 2006 and even played some gigs, showcasing new material.

Harvey admitted the shows forced the band to realise they had lost their direction.

He said: "We played a couple of gigs with some songs we'd written but it just felt like we were peddling nostalgia and not looking forward.

"I remember after a gig in Sheffield, we decided this had to change, this wasn't good enough.

My lifestyle has changed, we all understand the pitfalls and we know where to walk now.
Rob Harvey

"We needed to make it happen for ourselves, no-one was going to do it for us."

And so on to early 2007, The Music signed with Polydor and spent the rest of the year recording their third album in London with producers Flood, who has work with The Killers and U2, and Orbital's Paul Hartnoll.

The result is Strength In Numbers, defintely recognisable as The Music, particularly in the title track, but much more experimental in sound.

Tracks like Drugs and Idle even delve into New Order and Radiohead territory.

Back on the road

Complimenting the album release, on 16 June, the band are in the middle of their 'Four Cities' tour.

The concept being, the band return to play the same cities in consecutive months, but each time returning to a bigger venue.

As someone who is open with fans about past problems with cannabis and alcohol, Harvey acknowledges that being on the road again brings the same pressures and potential to fall back into a self destructive spiral.

He said: "My lifestyle has changed, we all understand the pitfalls and we know where to walk now.

"We're not teenagers any more, we're men now, we’ve got mortgages, girlfriends, it's important that we make this our lives.

"It's about making music and making people feel good and that’s all it's about."

The Music are playing this summer's Isle of Wight festival.



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