THE THE new album Ensoulment cover

THE THE, one of the most acclaimed and cherished bands of the last few decades, have announced details of a new studio album, Ensoulment.

Released on 6 September 2024, this 12-song LP will encompass characteristic topics ranging from love and sex, war and politics, life and death.

The 12-track LP, written, demoed, and mixed at Studio Cinéola in London, sees frontman Matt Johnson team up with James Eller (bass), DC Collard (keyboards), Earl Harvin (drums) and Barrie Cadogan (lead guitar), from the 2018 touring incarnation of the band. It also marks the return of co-producer and engineer Warne Livesey (Infected and Mind Bomb).

Cognitive Dissident, released digitally on 17 May, is the first single from the album and was written by Matt Johnson and Barrie Cadogan. The single will also be available as a limited edition 7″ featuring a previously unreleased B-side on 7 June. Listen below:

Distinctive Style

Over the years, THE THE’s releases have developed a distinct aesthetic style, which in no small part owes to the artwork of Matt Johnson’s late brother Andrew (AKA artist Andy Dog).

Ensoulment proudly features some of Andrew’s previously unpublished works on the cover, in the exquisitely designed 32-page booklet for the vinyl and CD formats, as well as on the covers of all singles.

THE THE was formed by Johnson in 1979 and released just five studio albums of original songs – Soul Mining (1983), Infected (1986), Mind Bomb (1989), Dusk (1993) and NakedSelf (2000).

THE THE have also made diversions into cover albums, such as Hanky Panky; film soundtracks including Hyena, Tony, Muscle and Moonbug; art installations; various book publications, including biography Long Shadows, High Hopes: The Life and Times of Matt Johnson & THE THE; and a beautiful and moving 84-minute documentary, The Inertia Variations.

Johnson’s lengthy absence was partly explained in his 2017 multimedia project, The Inertia Variations, which took inspiration from British poet John Tottenham’s 2005 book of the same name – particularly the idea of “brooding, abstraction and evasion” getting in the way of the creative process – resulting in a feature-length documentary and the Radio Cinéola Trilogy triple album box set.

Love & Laughter

At the end of The Inertia Variations documentary, Johnson was filmed performing a new song live in his studio. We Can’t Stop What’s Coming is an elegy to his elder brother Andrew (AKA artist Andy Dog), who passed away in 2016. “It was not an easy song to write,” he says. “That was the first time I’d sung in many years. I enjoyed it but found it very emotional.”

The experience prompted Johnson to revive THE THE as a live band. Unfortunately, COVID delayed the release of the accompanying live film and album until 2021 – it also hampered work on Ensoulment. Instead THE THE released a series of 7” inch singles: We Can’t Stop What’s Coming was followed by I WANT 2 B U (2020) and $1 ONE VOTE! (2023).

Ensoulment contains echoes of THE THE’s multi-faceted musical past, however it is richly representative of the mercurial band’s here and now. Johnson is characteristically unafraid to tackle the emotional complexity inherent in the human condition – intimacy in an age of alienation; democracy in a post-truth age; empire and vassalage; and the inexorable rise of AI – yet the album is equally shot through with hope.

“It’s vital to be hopeful,” Johnson states. “And I hope people get out of the album what we put into it. It was created under very happy circumstances, with a great vibe amongst the band and all the people that worked on it. There was a lot of thought, a lot of work, a lot of love, a lot of laughter!”

Ensoulment Tracklisting

Cognitive Dissident
Some Days I Drink My Coffee By The Grave Of William Blake
Zen & The Art Of Dating
Kissing The Ring Of POTUS
Life After Life
I Want To Wake Up With You
Down By The Frozen River
Risin’ Above The Need
Linoleum Smooth To The Stockinged Foot
Where Do We Go When We Die?
I Hope You Remember (the things I can’t forget)
A Rainy Day In May

The album will be available in retail as limited CD Hardcover Mediabook, CD Jewelcase, Black 2LP Gatefold and limited Crystal Clear 2LP Gatefold. Further exclusive formats will be available in the official album store.

Ensoulment can be pre-ordered from 17 May. Click here

THE THE also recently announced another world tour. Commencing in September 2024 it is the band’s first since  2018.

The initial UK run is now sold out and an extra London show at Brixton Academy on 1 October has been added. For ticket information click here

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