The Miserable Rich have found a unique new format on which to release their Christmas single Everything You Wanted. In addition to the standard 7″ and download formats, the single is released as a Christmas card, whereby the recipient receives a card with the single’s artwork and a link to a download inside. The single is backed with a cover of Jona Lewie’s Stop The Cavalry. David Brown from Louder Than War spoke to frontman James de Malplaquet about the concept and whether the single marks a return for the band that went on hiatus at the end of 2012.
Terminally under-rated and ignored by the music industry, The Miserable Rich produced three excellent albums between 2008 and 2011, Twelve Ways To Count, Of Flight And Fury and Miss You In The Days. It all went quiet after an emotional hometown show at the Corn Exchange in Brighton at the back end of 2012 until a one-off Christmas single was announced, with proceeds from the band’s sales going to the Disasters Emergency Committee.
James explains that there wasn’t a master plan to come back this year, but that a Dutch fan contacted the band with a proposition. “The idea came about simply because we were asked by a man called Robert, from Holland, if we’d like to do a Christmas single. His aim was to make a little one-off pop-up label and print a very short run of 500 vinyl, one cover, one original, for each of a few bands he likes. The band were up for it, though getting together and trying to write a Christmas tune and arrange another in the heat of August, and with everyone dotted around different countries, getting up to whatever they were doing presented its own challenges, shall we say. In the end it was worthwhile, as later on we decided to give the profits from our own sales to D.E.C. for the victims of the recent typhoon in Philippines. We really like the songs and it all sounds pretty together for a band who recorded it all separately. And there are songs by Smoke Fairies, The Garlands and The Silhouettes also in the series too if you don’t like ours.”
The Miserable Rich have a history of recording some of their favourite songs as covers and putting their own unique spin on songs such as Iggy Pop’s Shades, Pixies’ Gigantic, James’ Hey Ma and Kylie’ All The Lovers. The choice of Stop The Cavalry was a pretty straightforward one. “I asked the band if they’d be up for doing ‘Stop The Cavalry’ just because it had always been my favourite Christmas single. I thought it would work well with the rum-pum-diddle-dum theme in strings, but things usually don’t work out exactly how you plan when you work with a group of people, and we didn’t use that part of the song in the end. I didn’t mind as I’d always wanted to get some trumpet going, which we managed. Apparently Jona Lewie lived in Brighton for a while too – but I suppose people do. I do hope that’s not what he wrote the song about though.”
Fans of the band are already speculating and hoping that this means a return for them, particularly as Will and Mike’s stint as touring musicians with the vastly more successful yet infinitely inferior Mumford And Sons is at an end. James is very coy on the prospect though. “We do have a live album, and another of cover versions we keep threatening to release. There’s also the single ‘For Heaven’s Sake’ that we always wanted to put out at Spring some year. I’m not sure we’re planning to start touring again, or anything – although we are having a Miserable Christmas party, so anything’s possible. We do tend to drink a lot when we get together, so if any unwise suggestions get aired, that’s just the kind of meeting when there might be enough enthusiasm to get it going. I guess it’s just a bit of wait-and-see.”