Another Sky
19th September 2024 - 7:00 pm
The Deaf Institute

At this moment in time for Another Sky, there are maybe three certainties in this life: death, taxes, and rage. White-hot rage that takes you inwards, deeper into yourself, your fears, all the hidden truths you desperately tried to keep quiet while finding yourself. But with the band’s sophomore album Beach Day, that feeling opens a doorway to the most confident, fully-formed and forthright version of Another Sky so far.

Front-woman Catrin Vincent points out the relationship between anger and freedom on this record: where that feeling exists as an active, evolving situation to be understood, accepted, and fundamentally moved past. “If you don’t move through anger, it’ll calcify into bitterness, and it’s not worth it,” she says, “but it’s about having the freedom to find and feel that anger. How can you move through something you don’t even know is there?”. Much of the fury, righteous and exhilarating, is let out as a means to provide release for both the band and their fans, a moment of catharsis to be cherished. Vincent has already noticed this phenomenon at Another Sky shows: “instead of it being a place to party, it’s a place for people to just process their emotions. The audience are closing their eyes, sometimes they’re crying. I feel like we’re just a mirror—take what you need from this music.”

The album gave Vincent the opportunity to go more personal than ever – Another Sky has always supported and valued their front-woman’s vulnerability, but here it’s at its rawest. “Wait, why did I do this? Wait, why did I do this in the first place?” Vincent sings in the propulsive, almost euphoric climax of ‘Death of the Author’, one of many tracks on the album wrestling with a lack of control and surrender to the circumstances that great wreckage leave you with, whether you like it or not. The least you can do is make something of the rubble.

That rubble was rebuilt in the crypt of a church for Another Sky: the Covid years saw the band’s former studio flooded, as well as the painful consequences of a personal betrayal for all the band members. “We didn’t even know it was happening,” says guitarist Jack Gilbert. “You come out the end of it and realise you’ve lost everything.” (“all I had to do was be a good view as I fell from the sky you built for me,” Vincent spits on the explosive and impossibly direct lead single ‘Psychopath’). Both huge blows razed what you could perhaps call the first version of Another Sky to the ground. They needed a new space, and a new perspective, so they called out to their friends to help. “Does anyone know of any community spaces?”, they asked, and a Vicar, an avid Idles fan desperate to help some musicians, answered.

“We felt completely cut off from the world,” Vincent says of the crypt-based studio Another Sky built from scratch, with help from Jack’s builder Dad, where Gilbert produced much of the album himself – costing less and giving the band infinitely more freedom to take back control of their own narrative. “We felt like a little island just making whatever came out, and what came out was pure rage. With our first album, my lyrics were ethereal, sitting outside of things, commenting on the world, but never looking at the personal. With the second album, it was COVID, we were in lockdown. I had nowhere else to turn but inwards. I couldn’t focus on concepts or an artistic vision. My goal was to just be honest, to let all of the cracks of myself show, to be imperfect. And then I was just in complete shock at the anger that came out.”

Anger manifests through more nods to ‘90s rock music than before – ‘The Pain Makes Me Feel Like I’m Alive’ tries a new direction for the band, a cruising, almost calm meditation on the strength such turmoil can give you that shines in its unpolished finish. “The guitar is Catrin’s from a very rough demo,” Gilbert says. “We just couldn’t do it any better – I just thought, this is insane” Vincent remembers taking the song to the rest of the band while staring at a vinyl of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers that looks down on Another Sky in the crypt. “It just turned into this great live rock tune.”

The mood is deeply conflicted, nearly spiritual on the album’s elegant centrepiece ‘I Never Had Control’ – a swirling elegy to the person you once were and the grief required to move past that version and grow again. “My body is so much more than what happened to it,” Vincent sings in the beautiful resignation to past trauma that tries so stubbornly to define your life – if you let it. “It’s the acceptance at the end of the five stages of grief,” the front-woman says of the song, written during Winter 2021 while Vincent and Gilbert were living in London in flats they couldn’t afford, on benefits, adamant that this was still what they had to do. Gilbert heard Vincent whispering the lyrics into a voice memo one morning, and knew there was something special. When asked if it was already a song by another artist, Vincent said, “no, it’s mine, but it’s not very good, so I’m never going to show anyone”. Gilbert knew what he had to do, gently coaxing the song to fruition with bandmates Max Doohan and Naomi Le Dune.

So much of where we find Another Sky today has to do with those lightning-in-a-bottle moments: trusting you’ve struck gold, deep within yourself, that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be even if the entire world tries to shake you out of it. “It’s almost bittersweet to get to 10 years of this band and look back: we all fought so hard to do music, it’s more about processing our own lives than any sort of monetary goal,” says Vincent of this year’s milestone anniversary. “In the album, there’s a lot of difficult emotions and a lot of guilt for choosing this path. But we find it so spiritual – I describe album two as ego death, this absolute storm. I just thought, I don’t know what I’ve been trying to do all these years. I’ve lost myself, I’ve strayed from who I thought I was. But the only thing I can do now is express myself and tell the truth, then move on.”

Two of the band members now sofa-surf, London’s spiralling rents finally getting the better of them. Gilbert adds: “We’ve never been closer to quitting than now, but we’ve committed everything to being in this band. When we’ve asked each other, ‘do we still want to do this?’ The answer is always yes, for everyone.” The anger and the fight is real, and it’s everything – but that doesn’t mean it always will be. “It’s not where it’s going to end, or where it’s begun,” the guitarist says. “It’s a moment in time – some people can be tactical about the kind of song they write and why. But we just have no control over it. We just are who we are”. Vincent adds, “it’s funny, the songs from everything we’ve ever done are starting to make sense. I can see the journey, now. Cyclical anger. Feeling that bitterness at your circumstances rise again and again, and deciding every single time to not choose that path, to instead, find the love”. Hold onto that feeling while it lasts: Another Sky are steadfast and galvanised to make you understand everything that got them here. How they survived. All you have to do is listen.


The Deaf Institute 135 Grosvenor St
Manchester M1 7HE