“Lipinski comes across like a star in waiting – one who possesses immense patience with the powers that be – who lets his voice & playing speak for themselves” – Huffington Post
“Alex Lipinski channels the best tones of John Lennon and Roy Orbison and makes them his own. His writing is crisp, confessional and superb” – Rock ‘n’ Reel Magazine
“Played and sung with such vigour and conviction it just sweeps you up and carries you along” – Tom Robinson (BBC 6 Music)
“Lipinski’s future looks bright. He’s got the voice, the songs, and youth on his side” – Mick Taylor (Guitarist Magazine)
“Alex Lipinski’s Voice – WOW!” – Mikey Jonns (This Feeling)
ALEX LIPINSKI will release his album ‘Alex’ on Anton Newcombe’s A Recordings label on 10th November 2017.
The first thing that hits you is the voice. Alex Lipinski’s caressing sympathy, full-throated resentment, and the raw rockabilly excitement of earliest Elvis have grabbed unwary listeners from the West Country to Krakow, Berlin and New York, since he first left Somerset to become a crucial habitué of Soho’s legendary, lost 12-Bar Club. He has followed in the footsteps of his hero Dylan to write in the Chelsea Hotel, and sung Elvis songs in the home of an admiring Liam Gallagher, who is a firm champion.
With older brother and fellow musician Adam Lipinski by his side at Newcombe’s residential studio in Berlin, ‘Alex’ basically took six hours. “Anton put a lot of time and energy in. I recorded with an old guitar, because he wanted to capture the effortless, timeless ‘60s records that he had in his mind. We had initially planned to be in the studio for three or four nights. The first evening we rattled though the songs, a take or two of each and in those six hours everything clicked. By midnight we were done. We ended the evening by going to a great bar called 8mm. Anton set up a gig there the following night and played old folk records, then we played a live set. We added small overdubs on the record later. But the album captures the character of the songs live with no frills. The slight imperfections add to the feel. Anton taught me about perfect mistakes.”
Lipinski’s life has been one of wanderlust. His sister lived in Krakow for many years, where Lipinski visited regularly, and “felt right at home”. “The Jewish Quarter where King Jan Olbracht put the Jews to live, before their liquidisation in the war, is very haunted. Candlelit bars, dimly lit, with jazz music and Jewish music playing, in buildings that are really old.” Moving to London, he wandered down “the street where the Kinks and Stones used to rehearse, bars where Lennon and McCartney used to drink, and Dylan played.” Winning the MBF Songwriting award in 2008 helped him tour New York state and Pennsylvania, trailing yet more rock ghosts as he explored Harlem, and stayed at the Chelsea Hotel. “You walk into bars where certain people have played, and you can almost hear the echo,” he says. “But you have to be your own musician.” A brief tenure heading up Phoneys & The Freaks with Oasis’ Bonehead in 2014/2015 brought forth an EP, festival appearances and touring in Italy and the US. Now he’s currently back in Weston, Bristol’s bohemia gives him city life, alongside regular trips to Brooklyn, and Manchester.
Hailed by Newcombe as, “a young man surely worth my time and efforts, I appreciate his endless hard work and do it yourself ethics. Make no mistake, these tracks have all the qualities of timeless music”, Lipinski’s album is bursting with bilious anger, responding to new times when injustice is naked and callous. Take the track ‘Come on People’, in which “the blood-crazed pigs are snapping at your door”, and ominous powers “skin you to the bone”. Lipinski explains, “It’s all the shit that’s been going on for the last few years. Not just our domestic inequality, but on a worldwide scale, in Syria and America. A certain anger had built up, from watching the news and reading the papers, and those lyrics vented that.” The violent contempt of the powerful for those beneath them pulses through lines like, “you’re running round/blood dripping from your hands. “That’s about the media in this country and how a lot of people are in their little bubble in their little town and they don’t want to think for themselves, they want to feel comfortable. Coming from a small town myself, you’re used to being surrounded by that environment.”
Another track ‘The Devil You Know’ is remarkable. It’s like a folk song from the future, with that forms fundamental implacability. It depicts a coastal society’s mythic decline from a time before “the bitterness crept in just as sure as the blues / And hung in the air with a chill like a ghost in the room”. Like ‘Come on People’, it’s fictional, pessimistic and apocalyptic in some way. “They flowed from somewhere else,” Lipinski says. “I read a lot of books between albums, including 1984 and Brave New World. ‘The Devil You Know’ also uses influences from growing up in a small town, and it’s all gone to pot, and getting out. But there are also ballads which stem from more personal experiences like ‘Sophie’s Song’, ‘Carolyn’, ‘This Girl’ and ‘Hurricane’ which is an anti-love song of Dylanesque venom.
One of the last songs on ‘Alex’, ‘Another Travelling Song’, is a classic troubadour’s lament. “It’s about not being quite sure where to place your hat,” he says. “What am I searching for exactly?” The answer seems closer now 7 years on from his debut LP Lonesome Train. A third album is already in the pipeline..It will be a “heavier, electric”, full-band contrast to the current, stripped-back release. Lipinski’s potential was obvious when he arrived with his guitar in Soho a decade ago. Relentless graft and restless experience see that potential now being fulfilled.
(Photo – Tess Parks)