On their long-awaited debut album Morning Ritual, Chartreuse have found the light in the darkness, sifting through the ruins of an anxious age in order to find the hope in it
"There's a strange optimism in pulling all of your negative traits out, revising and reviewing them, and then putting them back, in order," says Mike Wagstaff, of the band's intricate, gorgeous songwriting.
Chartreuse resist easy definition. The Black Country four-piece have been close friends since they were at college. In 2013, Mike and Harriet Wilson started playing folk music together ("We were not good at all," laughs Harriet), and a year later, they added a rhythm section, with the addition of Mike's brother Rory on drums and Perry Lovering on bass. Mike and Rory live together in Kidderminster in the West Midlands, while Harriet and Perry live just ten minutes away. They are very close friends and the songwriting is an extension of this intimacy. Their songs might find Harriet singing Mike's lyrics, or vice versa. "It takes a lot of trust, because the songs are not short of emotion," says Harriet.
Morning Ritual has been a long time coming, with Chartreuse honing their craft over the course of four well- received EPs and the standalone 2022 single 'Satellites', a collaboration with Orlando Weeks. Having experimented with partly producing their previous EPs, Mike stepped up as sole producer on 2021's 'Is It Autumn Already?'. But they had big decisions to make. Should they build on the tracks from the last EP, and turn it into a full-length album? Would they work with a producer, or would Mike do it himself? They had more than enough new material to start an album from scratch, and Mike was ready to produce it. The framework for Morning Ritual was starting to take shape. "It was a natural progression," says Perry.