‘The Performer’ stands in stark contrast to the electro-hedonism of Righton’s work with Klaxons. Instead, it spins through various points from 1970 onwards. It touches on the suave art-lounge of Roxy Music, the jangly grooves of R.E.M., the sumptuous psychedelia of latter day Beach Boys, and the songwriting gift of Nick Lowe. In short, it uses classic elements as the groundwork for something which feels a natural fit for 2019.
Visually, the project finds Righton playing up the role of ‘The Performer’ as depicted in the title track’s video. Filmed by Hugo Campan at DEEWEE, it’s a stylized take on perennial glamour – Righton’s charismatic performance matched by his classic white Gucci suit and an array of vintage equipment. It will also form the basis for the stage set for his upcoming shows in support of the album.
‘The Performer’ was written, performed and produced by James Righton, with the help of some select collaborators. James Ford (The Last Shadow Puppets, Simian Mobile Disco) performed drums throughout and bass on two tracks; Sean O’Hagan (High Llamas, Microdisney) contributed string arrangements; saxophone was provided by Jorja Chalmers (Bryan Ferry); and Josephine Stevenson (Thom Yorke, Ex:Re) contributed additional piano and string arrangements.
It was recorded at a handful of locations, notably Righton’s home studio, Bryan Ferry’s Studio One. It was subsequently mixed by David and Stephen Dewaele at DEEWEE in Ghent, Belgium.
“a cinematic journey with poignant lyricism, exquisite production and charismatically seductive soundscapes” – 8/10 Clash
“slickly irresistible… it’s clever, effortless and very likeable” – 4/5 Q Magazine
“a rich, well-crafted piece of 1970s AOR, featuring elegantly written verses, choruses and middle eights..” 7/10 Uncut