Following Arliston’s recent single ‘Thawed’, the South London duo (vocalist / instrumentalist Jack Ratcliffe and instrumentalist / producer George Hasbury) begin a new chapter with ‘Monks of Lindisfarne’, the first track to be revealed from their upcoming album, Disappointment Machine. 

Draped in a warm, analog-sounding production, ‘Monks of Lindisfarne’ centers Arliston’s poignant storytelling capabilities. It unravels the heartache and bitter taste of romantic rejection, but while remaining composed. Through poetic avenues, the song’s protagonist shrugs off the sting of unrequited desire and directly addresses that well-intentioned other not to worry if they don’t feel the same. Time almost seems to slow down in this single, evoking memories of sending a confessional text and awaiting the reply. Each percussive point and paced lyric mirroring that chest-tightening anticipation.

Reflecting on the emotional tension of this single, as well as the song titles origin, Jack Ratcliffe shares:

“Monks of Lindisfarne is a Peep Show reference. The quote from the show is when Jeremy claims that he is doing the ‘honorable’ thing by telling Mark that he is in love with Mark’s girlfriend, Mark replies “No! An honorable man would have become a monk, or cut his nuts off, or gone to morocco.” This was one of the (many) oblique references I made in a panicked draft of a long message to someone, attempting to say something along the lines of ‘don’t worry if you don’t feel the same way, if you don’t, I’ll just become one of the monks of Lindisfarne.”

No matter how much self-control one employs, we often have very little sway over matters of the heart. As this nearly four-minute track progresses, the folky tranquility is submerged into a cinematic synth soundscape. Here the self-affirming words repeat, “tell me I don’t need, that I’m better off.”

On the song’s expansive folk-meets-synth construction, George Hasbury details:

“We fought with the arrangement of this one, it originally was an entirely synth based song, but it really turned a corner when we layered up the guitars and in the end we began the whole record with just guitar. I really enjoy the way this song starts out as a folky little guitar riff and then blossoms into this 80’s synth chorus thing, the strings also add just that extra layer of class to the production.”

‘Monks of Lindisfarne’ will leave listeners in a state of reflection, perhaps pondering their own amorous missteps or arrested by the intuitive and emotive soundtrack.