Album Walkthrough: Huey Blue details his debut album, Friday Anxiety
The rising Byron Bay musician breaks out of his comfort zone on his debut album, out today.
Over the last six months or so, we've really had the pleasure of properly getting to know Huey Blue - a rising, Byron Bay-musician who after years of working alongside bands including The Vernons, Layer Cake and Benjamin Brown, has started putting out his own work on a solo scale which has really seen him grow and evolve as a musician, cementing his name as a newcomer you should be keeping an eye on. There was Outside, a "luxurious few minutes that starts out big and bold, before settling into a very cruisy dub groove underpinning Tait's commanding, hazy vocal work" as we said, highlighting Hugh Tait's open-genred sound and how he was able to encompass moments of indie, pop, soul and more into one, glistening 'vibe'. Then, there was Running In Circles a few weeks back, which took on a 70s-esque soul-pop sound that further deepened his range and versatility as an artist, setting him up nicely for the release of his debut album, Friday Anxiety, today.
It's an eleven-track release that really encompasses Huey Blue's aforementioned versatility, taking notes from his work with past outfits and his solo influences and combining them all into one, distinct sound that despite taking on a lot of different feels, are all conjoined by that slick, Huey Blue touch. There's a lot to digest across the album's duration, with the past single's soulful sway and commanding vocals joining a broad range of tastes that move between accessible indie-pop to confident rock grooves, soundtracking his consistent evolution as an artist and everything he's delivered us time and time again.
"The album process was around two years in the making. Under Jake's expert guidance, we got to work at any time available between our full-time jobs. This approach offered ample time in between sessions to truly craft each song down to the intricacies," he explains on the record. "Without forcing it, and in hindsight, it seems unavoidable, the content ended up being motivated by feeling displaced in a five days on, two days off kind of lifestyle. I had written the album to flow conceptually, now with the same life – the understanding of these scarce moments that we truly live for, and the inevitable ticking clock that pushes you to make the most of them. It was written to act as a vessel of solidarity – so that these scarce moments don’t seem so fleeting after all, and anytime you put the album on you can escape back to those feelings. Marrying the soundscape to the content took time, a lot of back and forth between musician friends. However, what was created is completely genuine and reflects the lifestyle I’ve lived over the past two years – learning I can't have it all but at least I’m going to put all my heart into it."
Dive into the album below, with a track-by-track walkthrough from Huey himself.
The performances throughout the album are an enormous group effort. There's nothing more rewarding than sharing this experience with everyone involved, as they're all close friends and family.
Downtown (feat. Alexander Keys)
Straight out the blocks! It started out as a surf-rock style jam. It morphed a few times. We brought in Sean McKenzie to rip the sax which gave it so much life. There's a steel pan in there as well. Finally, we used a vintage Rhodes to find that pure sound on the keys. Alex (Alexander Keys) played the outro. Probably my favourite part of the album, it dives you right into a peaceful place.
Elston Dawn (Interlude)
If Downtown is the late night tune, then Elston Dawn naturally follows into daybreak. A bit of an ode to many late nights and early mornings spent at our sharehouse in Red Hill. Some of the best memories.
A love song about a quick-witted young lady, and being hungover in the rain.
Welcome to Friday Anxiety (Interlude)
Special mention to Rossco (my Dad) for dropping the clutch in the Mondial. This is me getting my Drive soundtrack vibe on. Worth mentioning, the album is a bit of a family affair. Both my brother and sister having backing vocal credits and my mother painted the album cover.
The title track! Shout out to Benjamin Brown, Hugh Cook, Tom Stephenson for the collaborative effort on the drums here. We got there in the end. Jake Walsh was able to fuse big sub-heavy hip hop production into the track whilst keeping the live elements.
I had written The Chase to be a disco track - but after a few attempts, it wasn't hitting hard enough. Jake and Mitch Clark helped to rework it into more of a rhythmic, syncopated funk joint. Capturing the energy out of a big studio, and in our homes was so much fun. We recorded the sax into a guitar delay pedal and made some crazy sounds. Add some gang vocals from anyone drunk enough to front the mic, and you have a finished track.
Running In Circles (feat. Ellie Glaves)
One of my big influences throughout writing this album was Fleetwood Mac. I feel like it comes across in this song. Mitch and I found the pocket in this one. Ellie's performance added so much richness. Her vocals feature right across the album.
The skit comes from the 80's film The Long Riders. Knife fights for days. An upbeat tune about our egos and getting played big time! Featuring staircase backing vocals from the one and only Sundown Jury.
I tried to capture my love for hip hop, neo-soul, jazz and roots. The intro chords take you on a journey into a deep and dark world of reggae dub. Hana Piranha played harp on this one. Jake and I spent a lot of time on that fat bass sound - and it's tubby. You're the man Jake.
Outside is simply about flying home from Melbourne with The Vernons after a weekend on tour. It grew into a very honest internal monologue that hopefully will resonate. "Greenest grass you'll never find" - these days it's so easy to compare ourselves with others, and be dissatisfied with what we have. It's a nice reminder to make the most of every day by not looking too far ahead. Lachlan Glaves on the trumpet!
Carrying those heavy dub vibes through to the final track.