Having last released a studio album in 2000 (NakedSelf), 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.

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, leading to The Comeback Special sold out world tour of 2018. Unfortunately, COVID delayed the release of the accompanying live film and album until 2021 – as well as hampered the intended start on the writing and recording of 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!”

Tracklisting 'Ensoulment'
1. Cognitive Dissident
2. Some Days I Drink My Coffee By The Grave Of William Blake
3. Zen & The Art Of Dating
4. Kissing The Ring Of POTUS
5. Life After Life
6. I Want To Wake Up With You
7. Down By The Frozen River
8. Risin’ Above The Need
9. Linoleum Smooth To The
Stockinged Foot
10. Where Do We Go When We Die?
11. I Hope You Remember
(the things I can’t forget)
12. A Rainy Day In May

THE THE also recently announced another world tour, commencing September 2024, the band’s first since their hugely successful The Comeback Special world tour in 2018. Even before the announcement of Ensoulment, the Ensouled world tour has been selling out fast. The initial U.K. run, which included a show at London’s historic Alexandra Palace, is now sold out and a 2nd London show at Brixton Academy has been added.

Ensouled world tour venues and ticket links to date (including Europe, Australia and New Zealand) found HERE.

SEPTEMBER

  • 10 September – Oslo, Norway
  • 11 September – Oslo, Norway SOLD OUT
  • 13 September – Stockholm, Sweden
  • 14 September – Copenhagen, Denmark SOLD OUT
  • 15 September – Copenhagen, Denmark SOLD OUT
  • 17 September – Berlin, Germany
  • 18 September – Köln, Germany
  • 19 September – Brussels, Belgium SOLD OUT
  • 21 September – Antwerp, Belgium SOLD OUT
  • 22 September – Amsterdam, Netherlands SOLD OUT
  • 23 September – Amsterdam, NL SOLD OUT
  • 25 September – Edinburgh, Scotland SOLD OUT
  • 27 September – Wolverhampton, England
  • 28 September – London, England SOLD OUT
  • 30 September – Manchester, England SOLD OUT

About THE THE:

THE THE was formed by Matt Johnson in 1979 and the music inhabits a genre of its own: music of long shadows, high hopes, channelled anger, feverish passions and sweetly disturbing poignancy. It is pop and rock, blues and folk, soul and polemic. It spans alienated electronics to twisted cinematic soundtracks, guitar tumbling swing to crimson ballads, rants and prayers to diaries and hymns.

In over four decades, THE THE have released just five studio albums of original songs – Soul Mining (1983), Infected (1986), Mind Bomb (1989), Dusk (1993) and NakedSelf (2000). But always unpredictable, during this time THE THE have also made diversions into cover albums, such as Hanky Panky; film soundtracks including Hyena, Tony, Muscle and Moonbug; art installations; a podcast series, Radio Cinéola; a beautiful and moving 84-minute documentary, The Inertia Variations; and various book publications, including biography Long Shadows, High Hopes: The Life and Times of Matt Johnson & THE THE.

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