Downes Braide Association / Return With The Ethereal Sounds Of Celestial Songs

Geoff Downes and Chris Braide are back with Downes Braide Association (DBA) and will release their long-awaited new album Celestial Songs on 8 September 2023. The album will be available as a CD, double vinyl or box set from Cherry Red Records.

“DBA’s music has always been about the big questions,” Chris Braide said. “The beauty of love and the tragedy of loss, but always with hope, I suppose. Celestial Songs is the latest chapter in that series. Celestial Songs was a title we came up with in 2020, and Roger [Dean] made it manifest in his wonderful sleeve painting. A beautiful, heavenly, rainbow sky full of stars.”

Celestial Songs is their fifth album and marks another leap forward for the pair. “As we were writing the songs for the album,” Braide said, “they started to become thematic in emotion and feeling. More classic rock than the predecessor Halcyon Hymns. The songs were about life and death, time, love, nostalgia, spirituality. Very DBA, in fact.”

“I know that Chris really likes the depth of chord sequences that I put together,” Geoff Downes said. “This particular collection just really grabbed him, and he got it up and running very, very quickly, so I was really pleased about that.”

Geoff told us to expect a lot of variety on the album. “We were aiming to get quite a bit more dynamics into this album because there were some very quiet pastoral moments,” he said. “I think it makes it a more interesting listen for people to get their heads around and enjoy. I hope people will appreciate it and get behind it, not just the songwriting and vocals but the overall instrumentation and musicianship is very high on this album.”

Downes Braide Association  - Celestial Songs
Downes Braide Association – Celestial Songs

DBA are joined by Andy Hodge (bass), and Dave Bainbridge (former Iona guitarist and keyboardist). “It’s very useful having this core of musicians that are ready to enhance our music,” Geoff said. “Andy Hodge is very much an integral part of this unit. When we send him stuff to play, he has incredible feeling and creates a more interesting bass part than we could have thought of ourselves.

“Having Dave Bainbridge with us has added another dimension to the DBA sound, and I’m very happy with that. Dave’s got his own stamp, and that’s something that we appreciate having on board.”

There is also a brief vocal appearance from Marc Almond on the song The Darker Side Of Fame. “Marc and Chris’s voices blend really well,” Geoff said. “It tells a story, a theme that a lot of people, and a lot of musicians, can relate to. Certainly, musicians that have had any kind of success. The lyric is very poignant.

“Whilst you have all the glory, the accolades and the adulation, it can go away, and you’re left with nothing. It reflects life in general, I think, as people go through all kinds of ups and downs throughout their careers and throughout their lives.”

The closing track cements DBA’s prog credentials. “What happens to love when we die?” Chris said. “Beyond The Stars was a tune that began in 2015 and really shaped the way the artwork was to develop. Something bigger than us, something astral and heavenly, it grew from a 3-minute ditty to an 11-minute epic.”

Downes Braide Association – Celestial Songs – is available from Chery Red Records.

Celestial Songs Track Listing

  1. Look What You Do (6.17)
  2. Clear Light (5.00)
  3. Keep On Moving (6.36)
  4. Darker Side Of Fame (3.56)
  5. Hey Kid (3.28)
  6. Will To Power (6.23)
  7. Heart Shaped Hole (9.06)
  8. Dear Petra (3.56)
  9. On The Run (5.09)
  10. Goodbye To You (Sister Shame) (7.30)
  11. Beyond The Stars (10.19)

All tracks written by Chris Braide and Geoff Downes except Keep On Moving (Chris Braide/Francis Dunnery/ Geoff Downes) and Goodbye To You (Sister Shame) (Chris Braide/Andy Partridge/Geoff Downes)
Produced by Chris Braide and Geoff Downes

Sleeve Notes

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