THE PRE NEW formed from the ashes of ’90s forgotten heroes Earl Brutus and World Of Twist to play Glastonbury Festival in 2010 and have been setting their own agenda since with two highly acclaimed albums and scores of live audiences bewildered and beguiled by their shock and awe.
Taking their name from a Jeff Koons’ art installation, The Pre New ("a splendid blast of pop-art” – Q) centre around the trio of writers and musicians Jim Fry, Laurence Bray and Stuart Wheldon. Formed in Zone 2 of Central London in 2010, the original intent of the group was to perform at that year’s Glastonbury Festival. Assembled by ex-Earl Brutus members (Fry, Gordon King, Stuart Boreman and Shinya Hayashida) with a shot of new blood from Bray (first generation Milton Keynes) and Wheldon (north of England via Canada), The Pre New first unveiled their unmistakable brand of hi-art lo-fi to an unsuspecting Queen’s Head Stage at a time when other revellers were watching Muse or the Pet Shop Boys.
A lot has happened since then. Their debut album, Music For People Who Hate Themselves was released in 2012 and was followed in 2013 by Music For Homeowners, a collection of remixes of their work by fellow travellers such as Saint Etienne, Public Service Broadcasting and Mogwai. Around this album, founder member Hayashida left the group to live in Sweden and provided an opportunity to re-think and re-shape the group.
Fry, Bray, Wheldon and Boreman moved away from a more traditional rock approach and experimented more with electronics and created The Pre New of today recruiting Vinny Gibson, ’a protest singer from Paisley’, full time for both writing and performing. There are many forces at work: Krautrock, Bowie, West Coast USA Rock, MRI scanners and Mike Leigh; there is no jamming, just computing, things pulling in new apposing directions. The Pre New are unique in the way that they excavate their current surroundings for their work; wherever that may be at any given point.
The Pre New also have a revolving door policy of guests who sit upon their ‘fourth plinth;’ including new boy Jay Davy and times Fry’s old partner in Earl Brutus, Gordon King.
All of this adds to the high-concept magic that surrounds the band. Their third album, The Male Eunuch was launched in May 2015 with a PowerPoint presentation at a central London hotel. Using Concorde, British Rail logos, they honour the past while resolutely looking forward. There is no-one else making a noise like this in British Popular Music.