Three years from the release of their eponymous debut album, which was one of our Album Picks of 2019, The Utopia Strong are gearing up to release a second studio album titled International Treasure. Back in March, the trio of Kavus Torabi (Gong / Cardiacs / Knifeworld / Guapo), Michael York (Coil / Teleplasmiste / Guapo) and former Snooker champion Steve Davis, had already enticed us with the otherworldly ‘Shepherdess’. As we get closer to release day on June 10th through Rocket Recordings, they have shared the album’s closing track ‘Castalia’. Speaking about it, the band comments:
“Castalia was one of the first tunes we started for International Treasure, it felt so optimistic and forgiving which was such a tonic during the somber period in which the album was recorded. Castalia initially felt at odds with the rest of the album which generally has a much bleaker, melancholic tone – to our ears at least – but by putting it in as the last tune it somehow makes sense of everything that went before.
“It has this end of the night kind of feeling, it put us in mind of Orbital’s Belfast or Ashra’s Sunrain. Steve and I thought it would sound perfect as the last tune we’d play in a DJ set, in fact initially I wanted to call it ‘Last Song Of The Night’ but thankfully Mike wasn’t having any of it! The vocal at the end once again comes from Katharine Blake who sang on the last piece of our debut album, Moonchild. We liked the conceptual continuity of that but also, along with the use of acoustic instruments, the way it humanises the track too.
‘Castalia’ is offered with an accompanying video made by Mike Bourne and Torabi had this to say about it:
“Mike Bourne, who created the video, has been a friend before we were even a band. It was he who inspired Steve to take up the modular synthesiser in the first place. We loved his work anyway and he’d created an astonishing video for The Holy Family, another Rocket band Mike York and I are involved with, so we were very keen to work with him. He’d specifically asked to do the video for Castalia and knowing his work we gave him a free hand. I think the end results absolutely crystallise the vibe and atmosphere of the piece, we couldn’t be happier.”
Watch the video below and don’t let their upcoming gem of an album slip away.