The Zutons have revealed the full details of their first new album in 16 years. The Big Decider will drop on 26th April and was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with legendary songwriter and producer Nile Rodgers, alongside the band’s original producer Ian Broudie.
The Big Decider is a record of profound relevance for the band, completed by Dave McCabe (guitar, lead vocals), Abi Harding (saxophone, vocals) and Sean Payne (drums, vocals). Conceived against the backdrop of a decade and a half of lived experience, it is born under the weight of family tragedies, lives lost and created, reality checks and home truths both addressed and stared down. Wrestled into shape under the kind of steam that only decades-long friendships – with all their messy fall-outs, make-ups, breakdowns and, ultimately, love – can muster, The Big Decider ultiately became the sound of water passing under the bridge, and love for music, love for each other and love for creating together becoming the most important thing of all.
Curiously, the pandemic seemingly fast-tracked the process of the band’s next stage. As McCabe recollects, during the time before he entered rehab: “We were all living together in our own little bubble, plenty of booze and mushrooms and a lot of bonding! It was necessary.” It was McCabe’s subsequent time in rehab that truly sparked a turning point in the positivity of the new album and the joyful experience of putting it together. Harding says: “Dave has been through an awful lot in the last few years, and these things have obviously really impacted him. But his songwriting has only got better. Now he spends more time on his songs. He’s in touch with his own and others’ emotions, and that all goes into the songs. It has been so nice to watch him grow. I’m so proud of him.”
Talking about the new album, lead singer and guitarist Dave McCabe says: “Working with Nile was just an amazing experience, he gave me a confidence that I’ve never felt before making a record. He’s very laid-back as a person and a good listener. On the song ‘Disappear’ , I wrote a spoken word piece about The Zutons travelling the stars and galaxies asking the most powerful question in the universe, “Why?”. I asked Nile if he’d read it out over the top of the end section of the song, thinking he’d just say no. But he jumped in the vocal booth with his chain around his neck and his sunglasses on and did about 20 different takes, all in different styles of himself. It was mind-blowing! It was as though he really does travel around the universe in some spaceship and just makes music in his spare time. He’s just one of the coolest people I’ve ever met … It was great to reconnect with Ian Broudie on this record as well. He told me the demo of Big Decider brought a tear to his eye and that’s why he said yes to working with us again. It was one of the first songs we wrote for the album so getting that reaction from Ian made me feel like we were doing something right. The song spoke for itself.”
The Big Decider is the sound of a band channelling what Abi Harding describes as a lifetime of “great chemistry and great connection”. Or, as Sean Payne puts it: “We had a genuine feeling of a shared vision. In the past we haven’t really said how we feel, or we’ve taken each other the wrong way. But this album was different. We really didn’t feel good until it was just how we wanted it.”
As sunny as it is poignant, as heartfelt is as it triumphant and – for the band – as liberating as it is cathartic, The Big Decider reminds us that the magical songwriting smarts of The Zutons has been absent for too long. They are The Zutons, they are back, and they’re here to uplift your 2024.
The band have released a new album trailer (below) and you can pre-order The Big Decider HERE
The Zutons have also announced that they will be embarking on an intimate tour of UK venues in the coming months, dubbed the “Creeping on the Dance Tour.”
Tickets are available on pre-sale with pre-orders of the new album from 5pm GMT on Tuesday 14th November from the band’s Official Store HERE. Tickets will then go on general sale from 10am on Friday 24th November.
Photo credit: Jonathan Turton