Take a journey through a West Country wilderness with brothers Jonathan and Matt Troy, on an album charting the many tender moments of growing up and growing old.
Inspired by the lush, rich cinematic sounds of Richard Hawley and Lambchop records, much of the melancholic nostalgia of the album was precipitated by parental deaths and a subsequent re-visiting of remote childhood haunts in and around the Forest of Dean. The songs on the album are a set of stories spanning the last hundred years and taking in themes such as Bristol’s nautical past, child disappearances, adolescent obsessions with tennis players and old mining stories from the Forest of Dean, drawing on a heady mix of local myths and legends and blurred memories of places, times and events. Much of the album was recorded in a disused warehouse in Thornbury, near Bristol between 2009 and 2013 by brothers Jonathan and Matt Troy, with additional parts recorded at family homes around Bristol. The majority of the instruments on the album were played by Jonathan and Matt, with strings and horns added by Sarah Eales, Dury Loveridge and Jim Cornick. Additional vocals were supplied by Lucy Rogers. The hub of the band remains Jonathan and Matt and long-time drummer Mark Freeth, with the wider band a fluid musical collective of contributors.
Jonathan Troy: “As a child I was fascinated by the eerie undiscovered wonders of the Forest and Wye Valley. I wanted to write something which was rooted geographically in the Forest of Dean and West Country, and which captured this feeling of strange creepy places and the adolescent excitement of crossing boundaries, expanding horizons, stepping into the wilderness that lies beyond the bottom of the garden.”
The Hi-Life Companion’s first release was a 3-track single through Cloudberry Records on September 1st 2008 which quickly sold out. Since then songs have also featured on a number of compilations including releases on Weepop!, Series Two and Eardrums. The band have received extensive radio play including Colin Murray on Radio 1, Tom Robinson on Radio 6 and Tom Ravenscroft, Channel 4 Radio.
‘Say Yes’, The Hi-Life Companion’s debut album was mixed by Rob Price from Airport Girl and was released in 2011 on Plastilina Records. The album is available for download from Amazon, Itunes etc. The HLC’s second album ‘Our Years In The Wilderness’ has just been completed and is due out shortly on the band’s own No Pudding Annie Records, and on CD Baby, Amazon and ITunes. It features 11 new songs and has been mixed by James Muir, and mastered by Chris Bauer.
“…Think of the most perfect pop music given an epic make over and you’ll get an idea of the sound. “Night Comes Down” is outstanding – at over 5 minutes it sweeps you away on a celestial soundscape – all brass and beautiful key changes. If Belle And Sebastian had written this it would make single of the week/month everywhere – Listen and fall in love…” (Box Set Go)
“…The band seem to defy genre with each song seemingly influenced by a different style…a throwback to joyous 60’s pop complete with the required handclaps and male-female harmonies…” (Another Form of Relief blog)
Take The Pills blog said: “…indie pop full of sweet melodies combined with fuzzy and jangling guitars that reminds me of the mid 80s bands from the anorak city and especially The Go-Betweens…pure pop songs…”
“…Tracks like “Times Table” and the brilliant “Night Comes Down” seem to show a precise attitude for joyful folk-strummed guitars, clear voices in early R.E.M. style, aberrant instrumentation and deep playing organs making tracks float on a soft pop colored musical bubble. Not forgetting nice and clever lyrics included on the course…” (Sleepwalking Mag)
“…I’m obsessed with the three minute rush of a classic pop song and The Hi-Life Companion have produced one that is essentially undeniable…Their harmonies can recall the Beach Boys at times, but they take it a bit further, latching onto an atonal groove and combining it with a catchy melody at the same time. They may have stumbled upon the perfect prescription to write their songs into your brain waves, permanently!” (The Finest Kiss blog)
“This is a spanking good pop record… an interesting collection of songs that feels like a lot of love and care has gone into its creation. The Hi-Life Companion are no one-trick ponies, cantering from the pastoral to the urban, from swooning to crunching, soothing to (a little bit) menacing. And always with plenty of tunes. ‘Say Yes!’ is a picnic basket packed with good things. Oh so many good things. Sweeping, spangling, crammed with sounds: twangy, jangly fizzy guitars, spingly glockenspiel (maybe even more than one at once!), violins and trumpets, ha ha harmonies – a cornucopia that spills out when you lift the lid.’ (Kittenpainting blog 2009)