“Songs Of The Feet” is the debut album from Tunbridge Wells, UK, based indie band “The Third Space”, comprising longstanding friends Hendrik “Henk” Kleinsmiede and Joe Farthing, supplemented by various friends and collaborators, including musician and engineer William Manwaring and producer Kevin Paul.

The album comprises10 songs of fluid, indie pop, characterised by jangly guitars, three-part harmonies and wry observational vignettes. It’s pop music by grown-ups, for grown-ups.

The songs cover a variety of topics, from the mundane and everyday (e.g. “End Of The Road”, a simple break-up ballad) to more esoteric concerns (e.g. “Colours”, about the relationship between Dutch impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh and his art-dealer brother Theo). In between, topics covered range from three gardens mentioned in the Bible (“Gardens”); to alcoholism (“Home”); to a critique of the veneration of celebrity culture (“How The Other Half Live”); to saying goodbye Henk’s favourite aunt who passed away in 2013 (“En Famille”).

As for the title… Henk had – by his own admission, rather ponderously, perhaps even pompously – been toying with the idea of calling it “Songs of Defeat”, given that he and Joe were in their forties and perhaps had not achieved everything in life they would have liked, as chronicled in the closing track “Far (from where you wanted to be)”.

Joe suggested “Songs of the Feet” as a light-hearted pun, but also in reference to dancing, given that music is supposed to make you dance! Joe and Henk both really liked the suggestion. So…the title of the first record was born!

Earlier incarnations of all these songs were all written a long time ago (just never recorded). Mostly when Henk was at University (1987-90) but one (“Best Friend”) also in the mid 1990s. The most recent song on the album is “En Famille”, which was written in remembrance (and in grieving) of Henk’s beloved Aunt Annick in March, 2013.

Only two of the songs survive in their original incarnation (“Gardens” and “En Famille”).  All of the rest were touched up  throughout 2013. In between these two dates (1990-2013), these two musical bookends, there was a lot of stuff – work; living abroad; marriage; kids; divorce – but not much in terms of songwriting!

That has now all changed.

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The Third Space are a UK based indie rock band, with ’Songs of the Feet’ marking their debut album. With their quirky lyrics and upbeat guitar riffs, they remind me of Billy Bragg and Wilco’s work together. It is so rare that a band is able to balance more upbeat, pop-style songs (such as ‘Gardens’ and ‘Vicar on a Harley’ with interesting views on love, religion and politics. The harmonies and fiddly guitar parts make this type of music enjoyable: fluidly combining anthemic riffs and funny lyrics to create a more pop-py, indie rock genre.

The slower, yet equally thought provoking ballads (e.g. ‘End of the Road’ and ‘En Familie’) each have their own powerful messages that they explore, ranging from the deaths of family members to First World War.

In their debut album, The Third Space beautifully balance quirky lyrics and interesting viewpoints with catchy guitar riffs, creating, in effect, the perfect indie rock/pop-py band for adults.

Fantastic debut album by The Third Space! Rich, mellow, lead vocals, jangly 60’s guitar harmonies and backing vocals, which feel like the songs are bathed in a balmy haze, combine seamlessly with folk rock melancholia. The Byrds meet Midlake.
Punctuated with the funky vitality of songs like “Vicar on a Harley” with its Ian Dury like keyboards. Tender and moving tributes to loved ones now gone, such as in “En Famille”, (which includes a beautifully fragile and haunting vocal contribution by Henk’s daughter) and “Remember You”, a song dedicated to Joe’s great-uncle who was killed at The Somme in WW1 aged only 18, give way to the raw rush of psychedelic guitar in Home thus expressing the release giving qualities of alcohol. .
Themes of Death, loss, illness and injustice intertwine effortlessly with celebrating the joy of life. “Best Friend in the World” is a track based on the true story of a dancer dying of AIDS yet despite this would dance daily on the roof of his car. “Gardens”, according to the album notes is “an organ and guitar driven ditty exploring three gardens mentioned in the bible”. One issue here is that it is difficult to hear the vocals and so lyrics.
“How the Other Half Lives” is an indictment of celebrities and their shallow attempt to look like they give a shit about those less fortunate. Dreamy guitars and languid percussion are highly suggestive of the protagonist just floating past “slums and housing projects” which are “just a backdrop to” their “conceit”
A favourite track “Colours” is a homage to Vincent Van Gogh and his relationship with his brother Theo. Inspired lyrics questioning the reductivism of ordinary science where “the universe is but physics’, ‘particles’ are explained away and “colours are just colours”. The chorus line – “Your colours sing to me…” evokes the synesthetic qualities of Van Gogh’s paintings. In fact they take you to another realm – that of The Third Space….

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