FROM THE DEBUT ALBUM ‘DISTANCE’ – OUT SEPTEMBER 18th 2020 (ON PURE MOTH)
“Bear On Bear” is the blistering new single from Popcorn Fiend, the first track to be taken from the Scottish musician’s long-awaited debut album ‘Distance’, which will be released September 18 on Pure Moth.
The opening track on ‘Distance’, “Bear On Bear” occupies a space somewhere between the propulsive industrial rock of Nine Inch Nails and the melodic synth pop of CHVRCHES, with the track co-produced by CHVRCHES collaborator and engineer David R Simpson. The clanging and uplifting electro-infused tonic that 2020 so desperately needs, “Bear On Bear” features the powerhouse drumming of Ross Rankin (The Kills, Titus Gein, Blue Sky Archives).
“Bear on Bear was written specifically with Ross in mind, who is one of the best and most fearsomely entertaining drummers I have had the pleasure of playing with,” comments Michael MacLennan, aka Popcorn Fiend. “Ross plays with such ferocity I wanted to create a bank of electronics that he would effectively be playing against, setting up a musical clash of titans, a showdown finale between man and machine.”
“Bear On Bear” is accompanied by a Manga-style animated video directed by Mike Chase. “It was important to have a video which represented the idea of a titanic clash but was also nimble, fun, and moving,” adds MacLennan. “Manga had just the sort of heightened realism that felt like it would match the track perfectly.”
Distance is the culmination of a journey that started in Aberdeen in 2003 with Popcorn Fiend’s ahead-of-its-time debut EP Subliminal Messages Will Mess With Your Mind, which delved into the sort of head-spinning eclecticism which music streaming would eventually bring into the mainstream.
A product of MacLennan’s relocation to Glasgow and eight years in the making, 2011’s PF/EP similarly stretched in several musical directions but veered into a starker, raw sound, reflecting the formation of a full band for live performance. Popcorn Fiend sprang into life just as CHVRCHES and The Twilight Sad began showing what Glasgow had to offer in terms of synth-laden anthemic indie pop, but their momentum was stalled by personal circumstances.
MacLennan left Glasgow for Manchester, then London, and then to Salzburg in Austria. All the while he continued to create music, sonically influenced by these differing locations: fist-pumping maximalist electroclash bangers, propulsive 80s-inflected anthemic post-punk, joyously stripped-down minimalistic electro anthems, and disquieting instrumentals which would jitter seamlessly into swelling crescendos.
Distance was built up over the course of 2019 with this narrative and thematic spine in place. MacLennan brought in CHVRCHES engineer David R Simpson, an old friend, to co-produce, mix, and master the album. MacLennan had previously worked on videos for CHVRCHES singer Lauren Mayberry’s previous band Blue Sky Archives, and their drummer Ross Rankin, who had also previously played with Popcorn Fiend, returned to perform on Distance.
A meditation on what is lost and gained through long periods of isolation from friends, family, and loved ones, no one involved in the recording could never have imagined how relevant the central themes of Distance – an album 17 years in the making – would be to the events of 2020.
Popcorn Fiend – Distance album tracklisting
01 Bear On Bear
02 You Don’t Know
03 Sketch of a Plan
04 This Ballroom’s For Dancing
05 A Virtue
06 The Fourth Wall
09 My Life. Your Life. Our Life
10 I Wish
11 Call For Aid