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Model Village: Cambridge band launch new album after a year on pause

Cambridge folk-pop collective Model Village have just released their new album after delaying for a year because of the pandemic

But they reckon their timeless themes of uncertain new relationships, the trials of building flatpack furniture and being “too old to day drink” will still be just as relevant 12 months into Covid.

And they have a deep suspicion of albums that have been written during the barren creative times of lockdown.

Ian Scanlon, guitarist, says: “I know some people have been inspired by lockdown, but I don't necessarily want to hear their concept album about making banana bread or whatever. It's not going to be that edifying.”

The band, who have been together for over a decade, were about to bring out their first album in six years when the first lockdown hit last year.

Cambridge folk-pop band Model Village (45287395)
Cambridge folk-pop band Model Village (45287395)

“The album was supposed to come out a year ago. It was literally February last year which wasn't great timing. At first it was incredibly demotivating having revved ourselves up for launching the album and doing gigs at the beginning of last year then not being able to,” says Ian.

“I put all my music stuff away and didn't do anything for four months.”

Since then the band has only met up virtually so they haven’t been able to practise or write songs together.

Dan Carney, bass, said; “I’ve written almost nothing during lockdown. We haven’t been able to meet up because, apart from Ian and I who live in Cambridge, the other band members are quite scattered now. So I’m pleased we are finally launching the album and I hope we will be able to play some gigs later in the year.

“A lot of the time when you bring out an album you have already started moving on to making something else and of course we haven't done that.”

Ian that's true normally we would have written another half a records worth of material by now but this time we haven't been able to see each other I think I saw Dan twice in the last year and I haven't seen anyone else on the band at all all. I've only played with my daughter, Liv, who is eight. But she is a bit challenging she doesn't necessarily want to play my songs. We would like to do some gigs. That's the way songs come to life for us.”

The new album, World of Carp, is Model Village’s fourth record and is full of hooky slices of pop. It opens with ‘Insufferable’ (described by the band as The Shins playing Blondie) which has lead singer Lily Rose reeling off a tale of getting older while still doing the same things you enjoyed in your youth (including daytime drinking). It seems to speak for the group who are enjoying “encroaching wisdom”.

Model Village's new album World of Carp.
Model Village's new album World of Carp.

Meanwhile, ‘Roles’ and ‘Variety Box’ explore problematic relationships; the former a detailed dismissal of a bad date who says the right things but doesn’t actually believe them (“another guy who’s done their reading”), while the latter is about the end of a relationship.

Elsewhere there’s ‘Sunburn’, in which Lily Rose appreciates her new patio and ‘Popular Band’, by Dan carney, which looks at part time band life (“We don’t put the hours in / We are part time punks… We once played an encore / But that’ll never happen again”).

And then there’s ‘Miseryguts’, a doom-laden ballad about social media and the depressing influence of conspiracy theories.

Both Ian and Dan freely admit to being part timers with jobs in science and IT respectively, having been drawn to Cambridge to work in those fields. They have known each other for 25 years and been in multiple bands of varying success over the years. But they have no intention of giving up.

“They will have to prize this from my cold, dead hands,” says Ian.

Model Village, from a time when we were allowed to see live music. Pic by James Birtwhistle.
Model Village, from a time when we were allowed to see live music. Pic by James Birtwhistle.

“Both of our partners were in the same year at university so Dan and I initially started the band because our partners were hanging out then they said why don't you be friends? That would be nice

“The rest of the band were people we played with in other bands at the time and we formed a Model Village as a way to have everyone collaborate together. We are like a squad formation, a football team. I don't know how many people we have had in the band at this time? Nine or ten?

“We had one drummer who left about three times. He broke our hearts. We did about three leaving gigs for him. He did the last record for us and after that he moved to Brighton.

“We have always been based nominally in Cambridge but we try to get out and normally we would go and play gigs in most of the small venues around the UK. There's lots of talk about people booking shows towards the end of the year but I will believe it when it happens.”

World of Carp is available on Bandcamp. £7 for a digital download or £16 on green vinyl. modelvillage.bandcamp.com/

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