THE MALVERN Hills have long been synonymous with the music of Worcestershire’s famous son, the composer Sir Edward Elgar who was inspired by the incredible views and landscapes we all know and love.
Elgar’s timeless classics like Pomp and Circumstance and the Enigma Variations are said to have drawn influences from the Hills and the Commons below.
Some of the most esteemed writers in history – CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and WH Auden to name a few, also gained inspiration from the area.
No surprise then that modern day creatives flock to the Malverns too.
And the paper has learned that singer Sarah Blackwood from pop group Dubstar, famous for 1990s hits like “Not So Manic Now” and “Stars”, likes to visit when she gets the chance.
Dubstar’s new single “I Can See You Outside” (out Friday) is about getting away from it all during the pandemic, and yearning to get back to normal life in clubs and music venues that are facing closure due to lockdowns.
Produced by the legendary Stephen Hague, who is famous for hits with Pet Shop Boys and New Order as well as Dubstar’s 1995 Gold-selling debut LP “Disgraceful”, the new release is a companion song to their brilliant September single “Hygiene Strip”.
We are reliably informed that singer Sarah loves nothing more to escape to British Camp in Malvern whenever she can.
“An early walk up the Hills, buying some local honey for sale by the car park before getting a coffee and a mooch in the shops in The Design Quarter by Ledbury is her ideal local jaunt,” a source close to the band told the paper.
We were treated to a first listen of the new track “I Can See You Outside” the band say is a “disco soundtrack for condemned night clubs and empty venues”.
Well, fingers crossed it gets played in some, if they ever manage to re-open.
“…Outside” is another catchy song which reinforces the promise for their upcoming new album “Two”, due out in 2021.
Recorded at the end of the first Covid-19 lockdown, the song offers “the resolution to transcend an existential threat”.
The track kicks off with a Blondie “Heart of Glass” vibe on the sequencer and disco bongos, before some lovely melancholy chord stabs build up to the opening vocals.
“Remember the way it made you feel, tied to the wheel” Sarah inquires before taking us for a post-lockdown holiday where you “Open the case in a place where you can get away”.
Was that place right here on Worcestershire’s most famous hills? There’s every chance.
The new single is filled with mournful reminiscences in the verses but the chorus is defiantly optimistic and full of positively uplifting metaphors because, after all, “If they close the ride, I can see you outside.”
This release marks another bold step for Dubstar, who are blazing a trail where many of their contemporaries used to lead.
What’s really good about this track is, like all good pop songs, it will fit into another time and place with ease.
Here’s hoping we get there soon.
• You can presave the new single here https://fanlink.to/dubstar-icsyo
• To hear more of Dubstar’s back catalogue (and I can recommend it) why not listen to their “Dubstarter” playlist on Spotify at https://spoti.fi/3kNWxC4