Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit
PRESS SHOT Square Divorce January 2022 c Aria Shahrokhshahi

"Services" is a self-assured and grunge-filled debut from Divorce

01 February 2022, 10:45 | Written by Alex Leggatt

Formed as a lockdown collaboration between Do Nothing and Megatrain, Divorce’s first single, “Services”, has left a confident mark on the scene.

I guess we have Hockley Hustle to thank (amongst other things) for this unexpected marriage between Do Nothing and Megatrain. Over lockdown, the charity music and arts festival produced a collaboration album with ‘20 of Notts best artists’ which birthed Divorce’s first song, “John”.

On that record, driving drum machines and staccato guitars give way to descending arpeggios bathed in overdrive, with Tiger Cohen-Towell’s hypnotic vocals echoing Metric’s Emily Haines. As her voice harmonises with Felix Mackenzie-Barrow, the other half of Megatrain, you soon realise that Divorce is more than just a one-off collaboration. Joining the duo is Kasper Sandstrøm (guitarist of Do Nothing, who features here on drums), and solo artist Adam Peter Smith on electric guitar; all four members have played a central role in the Nottingham scene for years.

Yet, despite these local reference points within the “Queen of the Midlands”, the band also draws influences from artists across the pond, including LCD Soundsystem, Tom Waits, Big Thief, and Mitski, as well as those lying further afield, such as the Americana band The Felice Brothers.

Divorce’s new single, “Services”, released via Hand In Hive (A.O. Gerber, TV Priest, Wyldest), exudes self-assuredness, both in its aggressive bassline and the distorted interjections from Adam Peter Smith’s guitar. Combined with Tiger Cohen-Towell’s expressive, often playful, vocals, the song gives us a potent introduction to their new genre-crossing sound.

Lyrically, Divorce takes us on a fictional road trip – which is fitting, given that Megatrain’s band name was inspired by a botched trip to London in which a train was mistaken for a bus. Sailing past grey service stations, we enter a liminal space between the excesses of late adolescence (with that desire to go and ‘scale the country’, regardless of your mother’s screams) and the burgeoning responsibilities of early adulthood.

The track’s stop/start juxtaposition between verse and chorus fuels this sense of precarity, which finds its most potent expression in the question: “Will you stroke me till I sleep/Or bludgeon me to death?”

As vocalist and bassist Tiger explains, “Both teenage dysphoria and the reluctant ascent into the chaos of my mid-twenties meet each other in this track. I looked back on the suffocating boredom and the pain of being 16, and how I longed for the simplicity of human closeness and car journeys. I wanted to channel a zeitgeist that we all feel in touch with, pain, trauma and cacophonous emotion; summarised in the mundanity of a service station.”

The accompanying 70’s inspired music video sees Divorce collaborate with Clump Collective, a Bristol-based production company. The aesthetic gives the track new and often unforeseen resonances, as when Tiger (who, with her blonde fringe, could easily be mistaken for Anya Taylor-Joy in Last Night in Soho) and Felix sing “That’s where my miracle ends” through pained smiles – all while their apartment burns around them.

Off the back of this single, Divorce will begin their debut live run in London on 1 March, supporting DEADLETTER at The Lexington. This could be the start of something very special for the quartet.

"Services" is out now via Hand In Hive. Find Divorce on Instagram and catch them live at Servant Jazz Quarters on 28 March.
Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next