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'Our new album's been recorded really quickly!'
(Melody Maker)

Justine Frischmann on the long-awaited new album

Elastica fans have been getting the chance to hear new material from the band's forthcoming album, due for release on April 3.

And Justine Frischmann has been talking to The Maker about the most long-awaited comeback in the history of Britpop - and how she has made her peace with former bandmate Donna Matthews.

We cought up with Justine after crowds at the London Astoria on Saturday went crazy for the new line-up of the band, showcased at last year's Reading Festival, which includes a reinstated Annie Holland on bass and a new audience favourite - hyperactive keyboard player Mew.

Much of the new material is less obviously poppy than anything on "Elastica", although "Generator", from the recent EP, is gloriously silly and played at a ridiculous speed.

"I love playing it," Justine told us. "It was so fast I didn't have time to do the vocals, I couldn't get the words out that quick! The audience couldn't pogo - gravity wouldn't take them down fast enough! Everyone was pogoing really out of time."

Also from the EP were the chaotic "How He Wrote Elastica Man", "Operate", in a similarly lethargic vein to "2:1", and "KB", which is full of squelchy keyboard sounds and big riffs, and for which The Fall's Mark E Smith guested on the recorded version.

"We did a reworking of it in the studio, which is going to be on the album," Justine said. "It sounds pretty different with me doing it. The lyrics have changed for when I sing it myself."

Brand new tracks include "Mad Dog", which begins with barking noises.

"That's the first bit of programming I did," said Justine. "I just like the idea of the riff being barked out. We really wanted that to be the next single, but there's a lot of pressure on us from the powers-that-be to put out a cover, which is annoying.

"We did a cover of [Trio's] 'Da Da Da', which we're not even playing live anymore. But hopefully 'Mad Dog' will be the second single."

"Love Like Ours" is slower and darker, coming from the Donna era, although it's still quite rocky, while "Your Arse My Place", originally written for a Peel session, is old-fashioned, dirty rock.

"I've always wanted to do a 12-bar blues thing and do an Elastica version," said Justine. "You get the basic 12-bar structure and you f*** with it, and that's the result."

"Human" is quite subdued by Elastica standards, with a menacing bass line and keyboards. And then there's "My Sex", an unusually reflective and personal song, in which Justine speaks the lyrics over a Nick Cave-style keyboards and intrusive guitars.

"It's a bit of an emotional one for me. Lyrically, it's more explicit than normal. I didn't play it to anyone in the band for ages. It's from before the band was together as it is now, when there was lots of shit going on with Donna and stuff, and me and Loz [Hardy, ex-Kingmaker] were doing quite a lot of work together.

"It's a song about lovers, about the best moments you've ever had with a boyfriend, where you just feel like everything's right. It's written from the perspective of when those things are gone, you're remembering them as what you want back."

Asked if it would be compared to the songs on Blur's "13", she replied: "It probably shouldn't, because it's not about Damon, it's just about every kind of brilliant moment I've ever had with anyone. I think I've been quite careful to avoid writing about Damon. Especially after '13' came out. I think there's some stuff on the album that is obviously affected by that, but I tried to make it covered and I haven't been explicit about it. Because the last thing I want is for people to think that I'm trying to sell a record on the back of anything to do with Blur."

Is this the most long-awaited album in history?

"I don't think we've gone past The Stone Roses yet. It's weird, because the irony is that everyone's talking about it taking five years, and we got back from Reading, and said, 'Right, we're sounding really wicked live at the moment.' And we were like, 'F*** it', and we went back in and re-recorded the whole thing in six weeks. It's actually been recorded really quickly!"

"It's been written over a really long period of time, but we were touring for a couple of years, and there was a long period where we weren't doing anything at all. So it hasn't really been that long!"

How easy will it be to come back as competitors?

"I don't know, because I think thare's going to be a lot of people who are really f***ed off with us for taking so long. I just think the climate's so different to last time. Obviously I want people to hear it and I want it to do well, but I'm not expecting to sell a million records."

Any festivals lined up?

"We're hoping to do loads of festivals, earn a bit of cash! I actually really enjoy festivals, I get a real kick out of that many people watching. I know that probably sounds really bad. I like gigs that are either tiny or quite big. Sometimes you get onstage and you feel like people want to see you fail. The thing with festivals is that people really want you to be good. They're pissed, having a good time. They've seen loads of bands, they're not there to be really critical."

What's it like with the new line-up?

"It's fantastic! The amazing thing was that Donna came to the gig. I didn't recognise her, she looked so different. I haven't seen her for over a year. I had a really lovely chat with her. It was so nice."

"If you've been mates with someone for years, unless they're properly psycho, it's hard not to feel something for them. We went through a lot of shit together and a lot of it was really fun. We were really having a laugh, talking about some of the shit that went on. We were both saying, 'Sorry if I said that.' It was just really nice to speak to her."


The fans' verdict

Will they find it hard to come back now?
"Not if those songs are indicative of the new album's quality, no."
What do you think of the new members?
"I love the female keyboard player. She looks really cool."

Will they find it hard to come back now?
R: "No, they've got a really strong fanbase. I paid £35 to be here."
Azi: "No, they're gods with shiny black guitars."
What do you think of the new members?
R: "There's lots of them."
A: "I liked Mew's enthusiasm. Me and my boyfriend both fancy her."

Will they find it hard to come back now?
"Not after hearing the new stuff. It was short and punchy."
What do you think of the new members?
"I didn't notice them, really."