Music

John Lawrie and the Welcome Strangers visualise their EP to a Disney film

In anticipation of their upcoming EP release, John Lawrie & The Welcome Strangers paint a visual world of where the songs will be taking us.

Whilst piecing together the lyrics for anticipated EP First Dates and Funeral, John Lawrie & The Welcome Strangers found an inextricable connection between heartbreak, mental health struggles and dumb decisions.

Without even realising, songwriter John fell down a whimsical rabbit hole, composing his very own coming of age soundtrack to the modern era.

John Lawrie & The Welcome Strangers

In his creative process, Lawrie began to reminisce on the nostalgic soundtracks that explore the denouement of teenage years, Disney Channel Films like ‘Cadet Kelly’ and ‘Radio Rebel’ drawing the artist to an inevitable conclusion that “First Dates and Funerals’ is the perfect soundtrack to a low budget, by the numbers coming-of-age movie”. 

“What follows is a breakdown of each of the songs on the EP, and how they fit this mould, at least in my mind” :

Sober

This is the perfect ‘set the scene song’. We have big wide-open shots of the small country town/inner-city/ holiday resort during the loud instrumentals, and cut to introductory dialogue about an upcoming school dance/ice hockey match. The lyrics may have to change from being about the time I reckoned with my own toxicity after nearly drunk dialling an ex, but the mood is there.

 

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Alone

This is the song where we meet the oh-so-quirky protagonist, who is an outsider in some way but just wants everyone to know they’re great at kickboxing/equestrian/crochet. It’s a song about wanting to be away from others but finding it hard to be alone by yourself, backed by upbeat drums and synths – a perfect introduction.

Cold in Sacramento

This is the protagonist’s ‘I Want’ song. The song where they say something to show the audience they want to be with the cool kids, but we all know deep down they just long to be understood. It’s dreamy, sad, and sounds exactly like it belongs in a mid-90’s movie that couldn’t afford The Cranberries“Dreams”.

Keys

This one’s a bit of a wildcard, both on the EP and in this concept of a soundtrack, so we’re just gonna move on. If the movie has any need for a weird Dumbo style psychedelic scene, this might fit though.

Happiness

You can hear this song trickling in the background when the main character is told by their mentor/parent/ school janitor, the strength is inside themselves all along, but they don’t believe it. The big event at the heart of the film is coming up and it looks like all hope is lost.

First Dates and Funerals

The start of this song, in the reverb-drenched guitars and low, hushed vocals, dwell where all hope is truly lost. The protagonist is failing in their chance to win the race/dance battle/baton twirling championship, but just before the drums and baseline kick in, they’re reminded of the words their mentor/parent/high school lunch lady said, pulling themselves together to win/save the day/get to the school dance. This song is about not wanting to fall in love, and yet reluctantly falling head over heels all at once. Unexpected love is the perfect soundtrack to an unexpected success.

I’m Not in Love

This is the song that plays at the very end of the credits – after, of course, we hear a reprise of “Alone” done by a contemporary pop-punk band no one will ever hear from again as shots from the film pause on the actor’s faces and their names come up. We’re hearing this song as the credits are showing who did the set design or something. This song to me was the coda of the project, wrapping up how I felt at the time, in a state of resignation to being neither happy or sad but just enjoying being.

Dripping with visual imagery and saturated with the fantastical narrative we know and love, John Lawrie & The Welcome Strangers have already established the wonder of their work, and we’ve only heard one song…

First Dates and Funerals will be released on 1st April, until then we have Sober to hold onto: