Photo: Rachel Lipsitz

audiobooks relive an unsettling childhood memory on pulsating single “The Doll”, announce new album

audiobooks is the off-beat London-based duo David Wrench and Evangeline Ling, who released their debut album Now! (in a minute) back in 2018. They return today with news of a follow-up called Astro Tough, which will arrive on October 1 through Heavenly. Wrench says:

“The first album was a photograph of the beginnings of the project, recorded without any overall plan. Astro Tough is more scripted, but a script that still allowed for lots of improvised scenes. There was more intention behind the songs, and a lot more refining. We weren’t precious about everything being spontaneous and a first take, like on the first record, even though some of it ended up being that. We made a lot more material for this record but chose the tracks that best worked together as an album.”

The first glimpse of audiobooks’ new album comes in album opener and lead single “The Doll”, in which Ling relives a childhood memory of losing her doll and asking people to help her find it. In “The Doll”, Ling takes up the role of the bemused bystander who decides to help the girl by calling the police (on 911, even though it’s stated they’re in Coventry), and then traipsing around the town with her looking for it. Beneath this, audiobooks lay out a hypnotic dance track, which only intensifies as the singer and the child go off in their fruitless search for the doll. By the end, audiobooks have built “The Doll” into a full-on trance track, where Ling’s ethereal voice repeats the difficult life lesson she learned on that fateful childhood day: “so hard to let go”. A song that doesn’t skimp on audiobooks’ idiosyncrasies but also pushes their sound into a fuller, more attention-grabbing sphere, “The Doll” makes us very excited for what’s to come on Astro Tough.

The video for “The Doll” follows a child walking through Covid-empty streets. Wrench says:

“I had the idea for The Doll video while out for a walk. I was watching a child walk confidently, checking their surroundings, taking it all in. I started to recall how the world used to look as a childI was lucky to grow up in the countryside and to be able to walk alone in nature. My father was a sportsman (he won a Commonwealth medal for Wales for Weightlifting) and a PE teacher, so I used to go with him and spend time in empty sports venues. There is a special atmosphere to places built for crowds when they are empty. It struck me that a video based on a child exploring these empty spaces and finding something that had been lost would make a really fitting film for our track The Doll.”

Watch it below or find “The Doll” on streaming platforms.

audiobooks’ new album Astro Tough arrives on October 1 through Heavenly (pre-order/save). You can find them on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.