A stately new single that laces the alt-rock spirit of Radiohead or Gomez via the Americana thrum of Neil Young and widescreen ambition of Sea Change-era Beck; from its naturally laid-back undercurrent to its life-affirming choral hooks ‘Loretto’ brims with the kind of assuredness it takes years to achieve.
And yet, like many of history’s greatest discoveries, MacQUEEN’s first new music of 2021 materialised as something of a happy accident. As MacQUEEN tells:
“Loretto came about in one of those fleeting moments of life, walking down a backstreet just north of Oxford Street. At the end of this alleyway was some graffiti, which was tagged “Loretto”, and that was it. By the time I walked out from the backstreet and out back on to the street, I was humming the chorus… It’s properly amazing when melodies just appear out of nowhere like that, and totally captures the mysteries and magic of writing songs.”
Inspired by that burning desire to escape from small-town suburbia with big dreams of what could be, “Loretto” transports the listener from the grime-spattered backstreets of the UK to the dust-addled highways of the American midwest, where MacQUEEN finds himself faced with one of life’s great crossroads.
“I remembered how I felt when I was stuck in my town, when I thought there was so much in front of me, and so did a lot of my friends. But places like that have a way of killing who you are, and extinguishing your dreams until you forget what your passions were, and you fall into a soul-crushing cycle of just existing. So it’s really a call to try and avoid that before things get too late, stay true to yourself and look forwards, not backwards.”
Growing up in a nondescript former market town in South Bedfordshire, Ali MacQUEEN cut his teeth with a variety of bands before moving to Nottingham and forming the Steve Lamacq-championed: The Autoplan.
After many twists and turns in a career that has been anything but conventional, MacQueen now finds himself in revitalised health and experiencing a songwriting gold-rush. Striking a deal with Blaggers Records in 2020, after 8 months honing his latest work and a prolific studio session, “Loretto” emerges as a first glimpse of this artist’s tantalising next chapter.
Written and performed almost entirely by MacQUEEN (including its guitars, drums, keyboards, Hammond organ & shakers), the record’s additional rolling bassline was added by Aaron Forde of JW Paris. Recorded in East London’s Buffalo Studiosthe track was engineered and produced by the studio’s JB Pillon, with additional mastering by John Davis (Jimmy Page, Noel Gallagher, U2).
Written from the heart and hewn with the experiences of life-less-ordinary, “Loretto” is a statement of intent from an artist destined for the right direction.
“Loretto’s a call to remember what’s important to you, and not give up on the dreams or passions that make you who you are…” says MacQUEEN. “It’s about getting out, moving on, leaving things behind, starting something new and the excitement and promise of it all.”