The Shape Of Things To Come

by The Left Outsides

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Sold out on vinyl but CD is available from Xemu Records.

“Woozily narcotic of tempo and bathed in reverb, minor chord-heavy songs…glide by in a melancholy swoon....there's a bewitching aura of moonlight dappled languor”
Mojo (****)

“Packed with atmospheric, gentle psychedelic folk…this is a delicate and sublime mix of swooning melodies and haunting, intelligent arrangements”
Shindig! (****)

"The Shape of Things to Come’ is quite frankly an astonishing accomplishment and easily stands already as a high musical watermark of 2015.....This is an album of rare quality, immediacy (whilst containing layers and depths which become more and more apparent on further listens) and maturity; quite simply The Left Outsides are arguably one of these island’s most crucial current folk outfits and one which is both assertively and effectively spearheading the taking forward of both the psyche and wyrd aspects of this genre.....Rarely does an album appear that feels as much like a fully formed classic recording that is assured of its place in the hearts of listeners twenty years from now. And yet ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ is such a recording. By referencing the rich vein of underground folk and psych experimentalism that has gone before and yet also firmly establishing its own unique and entrancing stamp and identity, this release and The Left Outsides themselves have found themselves at the forefront of the new folk revival."
The Active Listener

“It’s dark yet playful; “quintessentially English” yet worldly and well- travelled as if part acid folk with hints of portentous balladry and filmic imagery as viewed through a gypsy campfire and all thoroughly delightful”
Terrascope (album of the month)

"Its ethereal folk and dreamy psychedelic songs have the power to hypnotise. Heartfelt, introspective Englishness has never sounded so good".

"‘The Shape Of Things To Come’ is a more complex album than you may give it credit for on first listen. Gentle ballads paint pictures of a summer days but as the album unfolds, there comes with it a sense of foreboding. As each song develops it reveals an elaborate web of musical flourishes that lift it above their often over twee contemporaries."
Optical Sounds

"That Cotton’s viola is a lead player throughout much of the conspiracy is no surprise – there are few instruments that share its left field shadow, no matter who happens to be wielding it. But draw it out of the same kind of corners that John Cale used to inhabit on Nico’s early albums, and you welcome in the Left Outsides, firmly in the knowledge that they won’t be leaving again".
Goldmine Mag

The Left Outsides, Mark Nicholas and Alison Cotton are a husband and wife duo based in London, England whose atmospheric, hypnotic songs echo Nico’s icy European folk, pastoral psychedelia and chilly English fields at dawn.
The new album is The Shape of Things to Come, mixed by Martin Noble of British Sea Power and Graham Sutton of Bark Psychosis. Thirteen tracks with a new direction but also a common thread that goes back to The Left Outsides haunted, fragile 2008 debut album, And Colours In Between, their live album of the same year, Live At The Drop Out, and their experimental soundtrack for Gus Alvarez’s film Stand & Deliver in 2009.
The songs include modern-day murder ballads, 60s beat psychedelia and outsider folk, with music and lyrics inspired by memories, dreams and Gregorian chants.
Before The Left Outsides, Mark and Alison were members of the psych folk group The Eighteenth Day of May. Alison was also in John Peel favourites Saloon, and in the past decade her sought-after viola-playing has led to high-profile work with leading musicians. As well as playing on numerous records, she’s played live with Cheval Sombre, Pete Astor, Mark Mulcahy, British Air Powers (an early version of British Sea Power) & collaborates with Plinth and Mathew Sawyer.
Since forming, The Left Outsides have gathered fans far and wide, playing across the UK, France, Germany and in the USA on their own, supporting kindred spirits including Dead Meadow, The Clientele, Mark Mulcahy and the Bevis Frond and playing Phil McMullen’s Terrascope festival. 2015 saw them play the main stage at Green Man Festival. They’ve recorded radio sessions for Stuart Maconie’s Freakzone and Tom Robinson’s show on BBC6 Music and this year began with Pete Paphides getting The Left Outsides as the first guests to perform on his new radio show for Soho Radio.
The Shape of Things to Come sees the Left Outsides expand and deepen their sound with an enhanced line-up, textured layers and experimental guitar creating an unnerving off-kilter edge.


released May 8, 2015

Album Credits

Additional musicians:-
Matt Ashton played Bass Guitar on track 8 and sang backing vocals on 2, 3 and 9.
Karl Sabino played Autoharp on 2,6,7 and 9 and miniature dulcimer on 2.
Ben Phillipson played Electric Guitar on 11 and 13, Mandolin on 2 and 8 and Acoustic Guitar solo on 1.
Simon Trought played Bass Guitar on 11 and bowed Mandolin on 7.

Recorded by Simon Trought at Soup Studios, Whitechapel, London.

All songs mixed by Martin Noble, and Graham Sutton at Beethoven Street Studios, London, except 1 and 10, mixed by Simon Trought.

Tracks 5 and 12 remixed by Graham Sutton and Martin Noble.

Mastered by Denis Blackman at Skye Mastering, Scotland.

Illustration by Dave Underwood
Layout and design by Matt Ashton

Love and thanks to everyone involved in the making of this album.

Dedicated to the memory of our friends Mike Smoughton and Sara Al-Bader.



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The Left Outsides London, UK

The Left Outsides are: Mark Nicholas and Alison Cotton, a husband and wife duo based in London, England whose atmospheric, hypnotic songs echo Nico's icy European folk, pastoral psychedelia and chilly English fields at dawn.

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