‘It’s been a while’, says Stuart. Indeed it has. Ten years, to be exact. But if The Huddle House’s gestation was a long one – the birth itself was as natural and pain-free as could be hoped for. That so many years went by between the very first recording dates at Ken Brake’s then fledgling studio (a live take of the title song’s arrangement for two guitars) and the final mastering session was due to personal uprootings, multiple commitments, musical or otherwise, conflicting schedules, and the difficulty – in those pre ProTools days – of getting the whole team in one place at one given time. But there is nothing that sounds ‘difficult’, or forced, in The Huddle House, a collection of songs that will strike the listener by the freshness of the writing (‘Stu’s best, and by a distance, since Colossal Youth’, says Louis, who’s worked with Stuart since Random Rules, released in 1993), the spontaneity of the performances and the richness of their sound. It helped that much of this material was also performed live on a number of occasions (in Paris, London, Vienna and New York) before Ken Brake saved the final mixes to disc. As Stuart explains in his liner notes, his songs are written ‘like diagrams; short, cryptic exercises, spare and sparing’ – all Young Marble Giants and Gist! Fans will be aware of that. But The Huddle House cannot be called ‘austere’, even if the intrumental canvas is one of utmost simplicity: most of the time, a couple of guitars, a couple of voices, and that is about all, barring a splash of colour, a burst of vocal harmonies, a sprinkling of percussion … Louis: ’I hope that this album will establish once and for all that Stuart is one of this country’s best writers, period. Some of the lyrics hit me today with the same strength as they did when I first heard them – ‘Save It’, for example, or ‘Hold My Hand’, which is simply heartbreaking. ‘The Huddle House’ is as evocative as a painting by Edward Hopper… and the tunes are glorious. ‘Save It’, again – a three-chord wonder, melodically speaking. I am as proud of being on this record as I am of anything else I’ve done before’.
Credits: All songs written by Stuart Moxham, co-arranged by Louis Philippe. Stuart Moxham: lead vocals, steel string and electric guitar, electric bass, keyboards, percussion; Louis Philippe: backing vocals, classical and electric guitar, electric bass; Andrew Moxham: hi-hats on ‘Desert Rain’. Produced by Ken Brake at Regal Lane Studio, Regent’s Park, London. Artwork designed by Simon Josebury for Secondary Modern, London.