'Alligator Allegory is the second album in which I have tried to explore what I increasingly tend to call 'back-to-basics' song writing and production. Over the past fifteen years or so digital technology has given writers/musicians and producers a pretty much unlimited palette with which to push the boundaries of soundscapes and the structures of contemporary song writing. As a reaction to this I became increasingly interested in which constitutes the structure of a 'song' - the storytelling, the verses, the choruses, hooks, bridges and instrumental passages which make up the whole. How do they fit together so that they have a beginning, middle & end? This drew me back to the music of the early seventies, say between 1970 and '75, a period which came to an explosive end with the advent of punk. It seemed to me that this period was a culmination of the song writing technique that had evolved throughout the sixties. The fact that it had come to a culmination in many ways enabled the advent of punk which, quite correctly, kicked the whole perfected house down; and, of course, other genres of music were also emerging as we hit the mid-seventies: Soul & disco, and electronic synthesiser-based output from Germany. All these would impact of the course that song writing would take in the second half of that decade. The ten songs on Alligator Allegory were written first on an acoustic guitar and complete in themselves before being laid down in the studio. I spent a great deal of time working on the words to the songs, so that they told complete, rounded stories. Initially we went into the studio with twelve songs, but two I've decided to hold back from the completed album. Not because they weren't up to scratch, but because they (1) made the album too long and (2) didn't sound 'essential' to the album. One of objectives I strongly wanted to achieve was to create a set of songs which took the listener on a journey from first track to last: a coherence which gave the impression of 'moving' through a story musically & lyrically, like chapters in a novel, although not a 'concept' album by any means, I wanted there to be a consistency, flow-through in the 'stories' the tracks told. This would seem to fly somewhat in the face of the contemporary wisdom that the 'album' is dead in the face of single downloads and cloud-streaming. I actually don't believe this is true. People who actively listen to music, as opposed to relegating it to the backing track of their lives, will always be drawn to sets of songs, and the interplay between them. Likewise, the songs themselves have a very traditional structure: verse, chorus, bridge, solo, and so on. The trick, since most of the tracks run over the 4 minute mark (some well over), was to build them up with backing vocals and additional instrumentation, to sustain the listeners interest. Neil Pickles, who recorded & produced the album with me, had a keen ear for how each track needed to be built up and layered. He has also very expertly recreated the 'analogue' sound of the early seventies, although the recording of the album was entirely digital. Perhaps the aspect I'm most pleased with is the recording of the drums, Neil has managed to capture the 'phat' of Mick Parker's snare perfectly'. Chris Stravener London Spring 2011.