30 November 2018 sees the release of COCKLES’ debut album, entitled 'THE WORLD’S BEST NARCISSIST'. The brainchild of Shortstraw frontman ALASTAIR THOMAS, the album comes after the release of two singles - ‘Joshin’ Around’ and ‘Narcissist’ earlier this year.
ALASTAIR started writing for a solo project as soon as Shortstraw took a hiatus around November 2017. Not sure which direction of the sound to pursue, the inspiration bug bit in February 2018 when he wrote ‘Joshin’ Around’ in about 10 minutes and realised that THAT was the direction he wanted to take COCKLES in. After establishing his style of songwriting, the rest of the album came quickly. By September 2018, he had the album tracked.
Jacques Du Plessis has always shared ALASTAIR’s vision with music and was the obvious choice to produce the album with him, with Jacques also joining the COCKLES band. The album was recorded in bits from March this year at High Sea Studios in Johannesburg, finishing in October.
“I wanted this album to be relatable more than anything. I wanted people to hear the songs and go, ‘Shit, that's relatable.’ I wanted to go back to my songwriting roots from 2007 Shortstraw. Where there's some comedic elements and some folky inspiration. I wanted to write songs that could be performed alone on an acoustic guitar, something Shortstraw hasn't been able to do for a good few years - it's just not how the songs are written. So I wanted to get down to the nitty-gritty of songwriting again. Test my skills and patience and self-confidence. I've realised how much I depended on my bandmates to bounce ideas off of, so this has been quite the test on my self-esteem. Like, there's no one else to blame if people don't like this album.”
For 'THE WORLD’S BEST NARCISSIST', COCKLES found inspiration in his favourite lyricists: Courtney Barnett, Will Toledo from Car Seat Headrest, Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes and Flight of the Conchords while writing the album. Being a musical offering based on the lyrics with a hint of pop sensibility thrown in, his focus was primarily to create quirky, relatable lyrics over simple music. There's nothing over-complicated in the guitar work, there are only basic synth lines thrown in and he wanted the drums to be kept as simple as possible.
“One day I was re-watching Californication and they played You Can't Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones, with the angelic intro and I was like, that could be a great idea for an intro for Narcissist. The kinda pinnacle of Narcissism is thinking that you're god, and nothing's more godly than having a choir of angels sing over your entrance. So I added that in, then I thought what a magic way to start the album... this album that's all about me, trying to write songs on my own. Just ME ME ME. What a fuckin’ narcissist! So it became pretty apparent at that point that the album needed to be called 'THE WORLD’S BEST NARCISSIST'.”
- Sour Poes
- Joshin' Around
- Small Talk
- Peer Pressure
- Till Death Do Us Part
- Dick Dastardly Eyesore
- Time Flies
- God Knows