The Mission Sessions – Those Nervous Animals, Past, Present and Future
On Friday, 26 March The Mission Sessions sees its long-awaited released on vinyl and digital platforms.
“Tracks such as The Business Enterprise (My Friend John), Insomnia, Damien, and Just What the Sucker Wanted ooze varying states of funkiness… (and) have travelled well”… Tony Clayton-Lea: The Irish Times.
The album features ten songs, half of which are fresh recordings. The others date from various stages in the band’s lengthy career. The album is structured to run as a continuous listening experience; Lauren Murphy (Irish Times): “there is a cohesion and sense of unity that ties it together and signifies a band still in fine fettle”.
Lockdown #1 in March 2020 marked the first new recording work on The Mission Sessions. The band confronted issues of immediate and geographical distance; contributors were based in Sligo, Leitrim and Meath, and one collaborator was resident in New York. Online tools like WeTransfer and Zoom were put to good use. The first recording was a brand-new arrangement of a fan favourite. The Hypnotist originated in gigs and jam sessions, as it evolved and changed the tune was never played the same two nights running. It perhaps best represents the Animals live sound, funky, unpredictable and with a singalong chorus. In re-creating the track, they used a bootleg of a live gig in the Strand Bar, Strandhill from 2014 for reference. They then recorded individual parts, including Barry’s vocal, Eddie on bass, Padraig on rhythm guitar and longstanding contributor Seamie McGowan making his customary mischief on guitar synth. Gerry Leonard (ex-David Bowie band) added guitar and mixed the track in New York.
Some of the other songs were mixed by the band. The Mission Sessions features fresh versions of older songs such as Clubs, Rocket Ship and Barry and Susan duetting on He Can’t Resist a Mystery, a melody which first appeared on a now-lost demo mixed by Nicky Ryan (Enya) in the late 1980’s. Nichola MacEvilly (vocals) and Gerry Leonard (guitar, editing, mixing) also feature on this song. Philip Begley, long-time TNA sound engineer, mixed a new version of Insomnia. It features Luke Devaney on keyboards and Barry and Eddie; the sparse and lyrical Insomnia was the opening song for many TNA gigs in the mid to late 1980’s. The original arrangement is by Bill Whelan (Riverdance composer) who produced some of the best-known hits of Those Nervous Animals in the 1980’s, including The Business Enterprise (My Friend John) and Just What the Sucker Wanted, remastered artfully here by David Glasser.
Among the remastered material is The Polar Bear (2003), which features the voice of Paddy Cox, CIE announcer and conductor on the Sligo rail line. Pianist and producer Trevor Knight (Auto Da Fe, The Devil’s Spine Band), took the train to Sligo for the recording session and used his portable recorder to capture Paddy’s voice. The singalong character of Paddy’s delivery meant he fitted neatly to the groove of the track; “arrivin’ at Sligo station, last stop…” Paddy (RIP) was well-known for his wit and sartorial style – he always wore a red carnation in his lapel. Bird is a song from the same era about the boxer Muhammad Ali for which Susan Rowland takes the lead vocal, produced by Trevor Knight.
Perhaps the last word should go to Tony Clayton Lea of The Irish Times. Of Bird, he writes; “…a more recent, quite splendid song, conjures up an altogether serene sonic template of what might come next…”
The Mission Sessions album is available to order via Those Nervous Animals website thosenervousanimals.ie or Dublin Vinyl website. It is also available for download from all streaming or downloadable platforms.
For more information, contact Pete at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 087-2435048
Single Release: Damien (Remastered)
16 March 2021
The remastered version of Damien, the second single release from The Mission Sessions, drops Friday 19th March. The audio was remastered by David Glasser. It is downloadable from all major streaming platforms.
#Damien #TheMissionSessions #ThoseNervousAnimals #TNAband #remaster #IrishBands #David Glasser
Single Release: The Business Enterprise (My Friend John)
21 January 2021
The remastered version of The Business Enterprise (My Friend John), the first single release from The Mission Sessions, drops on the week ending Friday 22 January. The audio was remastered by David Glasser. It is downloadable from all major streaming platforms. The song is often referred to as ‘My Friend John‘, but remember to include the words ‘The Business Enterprise‘ in searches.
#MyFriendJohn #TheBusinessEnterprise #ThoseNervousAnimals #TNAband #remaster #IrishBands #David Glasser #TheMissionSessions
Those Nervous Animals’ Mission Sessions – album launch date rescheduled for March
18 January 2021
Due to the latest Covid-19 lockdown measures, The Mission Sessions will now be released on digital platforms and on vinyl on March 26, 2021. Pre-orders are available on this website.
Four Decades in Song – Those Nervous Animals’ Mission Sessions
Those Nervous Animals started making music together in 1981. Forty years later the Sligo-based band is about to release their first complete album, The Mission Sessions, consisting of songs from early days and from every decade since, the most recent material recorded remotely during the first Covid-19 lockdown of 2020.
Unusually for Irish bands of the era, Those Nervous Animals mixed blue-eyed soul, funk and indie into an uncategorisable whole. Producer Bill Whelan, excited by the band’s audacious approach (and assisted by engineer Philip Begley), helped shape Those Nervous Animals’ adventurous arrangements into something more radio-friendly, giving rise to two singles, Just What the Sucker Wanted and The Business Enterprise (My Friend John) between 1983 and 1984. A spate of sell-out gigs, major festival appearances, a mini-album (Hyperspace!), a couple more singles and huge music industry interest followed. Producers Donal Lunny and Nicky Ryan also worked with the band (Donal produced Damien in 1986; around the same time Nicky worked on the first demo of He can’t Resist a Mystery), who were notably energetic and creative both in studio and in their live shows. Over the decades that followed the band members pursued various other paths, occasionally coming together for one-off gigs and—in the early 1990’s—a tour and single, Rocket Ship. Again in the early oughties came a new set of Those Nervous Animals’ recordings and shows, including work with keyboardist and producer Trevor Knight.
In early 2020 a worldwide pandemic and subsequent lockdown found the Nervous Animals in both a retrospective and a very contemporary mood. The Mission Sessions refers to a famous Georgian house in Union Place, Sligo (nicknamed “The Mission”), where the very earliest rehearsals were held and where some members lived for a period in the 1980’s. The house—and entire historic neighbourhood—was lost to road building at the turn of the 20th century. The songs unconsciously capture the changing times in Ireland over four dramatically changing decades. The songs on The Mission Sessions unconsciously capture a changing Ireland over four decades. Listening to The Mission Sessions, you are time-travelling inside songs remarkably prophetic of boom and bust, wins and losses, various dramatic cultural shifts—but some ageless sense of wonder is vibrant within these grooves too.
To meld diverse elements and sounds from across the decades, the group enlisted the help of mastering engineer David Glasser, whose work includes the restoration of materials from the birth of sound recording for the Smithsonian Folkways Collection and also The Grateful Dead back catalogue. Glasser’s virtuoso remastering of songs like The Business Enterprise (My Friend John) and Damien gives them a new polish and detail and miraculously matches the dynamics of the newly recorded material.
The most recent recordings feature many familiar elements for people who know the work of the band; the vocals of Barry and Susan, Pádraig on guitar and Eddie on bass (both of the latter two contribute treatments, sequencing and occasional vocals). Tom Jamieson is on drumming duties, and Seamie McGowan plays guitar. Nichola MacEvilly (vocals) contributes to the new recordings as does ex-David Bowie sideman Gerry Leonard on Transatlantic guitar and mixing duties. The artwork for the album was done by a team consisting of designer Niall McCormack and Maria Murray (who designed the original My Friend John single cover).
Eddie Lee sums up the sentiments involved in the making of the record: “Our biggest regret, looking back to the 80’s, was not that we didn’t become pop stars, I don’t think any of us were really cut out for that. It was not getting to make that album, as we always believed strongly in the originality and beauty of the songs we wrote and arranged. We felt it would be a special piece of work; it is maybe a little ironic that it took a pandemic to finally allow it to see the light of day”.
The Mission Sessions will be released on digital platforms and on vinyl on January 22, 2021. Pre orders are available on this website.
Press / media enquiries
For any Press / Media enquiries relating to Those Nervous Animals and our new album The Mission Sessions please use the form below.