Summon the Birds began in 2007, when singer-songwriter Jonathan Shaw and bassist/producer Peter Woodlands kicked up an idea for a record called 48, based on the iChing. Kris Arrowsmith joined on drums, with guitarist Tim Clarke seduced into the fray after the dissolution of instrumental shoegaze band Bury the Sound. 48 saw release in 2012, launched alongside Melbourne space-rock compatriots All India Radio, closely followed by single ‘Digger’ in 2013.
The seeds of second album Blood Love were sown back in 2009, with song sketches dreamt up by Shaw massaged into shape in the band’s Hurstbridge rehearsal room. These new songs had a lyrical intensity that lent itself to a more dynamic musical setting, inspired by Clarke’s measured guitar playing, tracing itself like gold wire over the regal patter of Arrowsmith’s drums and Woodlands’ bass runs. Labyrinthine pieces like ‘The Anatomy Lesson’ – based on the famous painting by Rembrandt – nine-minute opus ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ and instrumental tracks ‘Tactile Hallucination’ and ‘Cloud Cars’ began to realise the reach of the band’s ambition.
In 2014, bassist Drew Corby replaced original member Peter Woodlands, and the recording of Blood Love began in earnest, bolstered by Paul Spurling on keyboards, Marlene Samson on backing vocals, and Adrian Perger on horns. Producer and engineer Tim Johnston (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Dandy Warhols, The Drones) oversaw the sessions and lent his golden ears to the mixes, and the album was mastered by John Ruberto (Courtney Barnett, The Drones, Electric Mary).
Blood Love is dedicated to the late Peter Woodlands, who died far too soon, but whose song rings on in the vault of the endless sky.