Turn Up The Funk – Warm Digits: Flight Of Ideas – Album Review

The follow up to 2017’s Wireless World sees the Newcastle duo expand on the lyrics and guest vocalists and they take the funk up a notch too! A fantastic trip into the topical point of how not every idea we have is the right idea and should be executed blindingly.

Following is my track-by-track thoughts on the new album.

Track one – Frames And Cages: Bang up-to-date but with undertones of Eastern mysticism and the soft wave of the signature Warm Digits sound. Pulsing rhythms through it. Love the ending. A strong album opener.

Track two – Feel The Panic (feat. The Lovely Eggs): First time I listened to it I felt it should have been the lead single, just my opinion. Great catchy lyrics. “Are you infallible? Or just gullible?” Andy’s drumming is a highlight on this. Great guitar licks from Steve as well. They bring out such a big sound for a duo. This track could currently not be any more topical!

Track three – The View From Nowhere (feat. Emma Pollock): A bit more of a laidback groove from the guys this track. Again, great lyrics. Great guitar licks from Steve.

Track four – I’m Okay, You’re Okay: The melody! I love this track. I actually find it very emotional. It’s reminiscent of something off Autobahn for me – just….the emotional impact of it. Gorgeous electronica. But also very organic. A very signature Warm Digits track for me.

Track five – Fools Tomorrow (feat. Paul Smith): Wow! What a track! The funk weaving through and Paul Smith’s voice works ssooo well with the sound. And the beat break around the three minute mark in the song? Divine! Again, tracks on this album are becoming incredibly topical.

Track six – Replication: Again, the melody that starts the track just pulls you in and then Andy drums like an animal. Great bass work and then manic but gorgeous waves of melody and riffs. Something pentatonic with the beat at times. Then another gorgeous beat break around the three minute mark. The bass on this is sublime!

Track seven – Shake The Wheels Off (feat. The Orielles): More funk coming along, but perhaps toned down a little compared to others. Great electronics on it and fab hooks and riffs going on in it. Again very catchy. “A real bone-shaker”, as the song says.

Track eight – Everyone Nervous (feat. Rozi Plain): Beautiful electronics and Andy’s drumming on it is fab. Great guitar reverbs towards the end of the track as well. Rozi Plain’s voice is so wonderful emotive. I find this a wonderfully soft and emotional piece. It actually gives me those goosebump chills of electricity when I play it.

Track nine – False Positive: TURN UP THE FUNK! Wow! Was blown away by this when they performed it at St Luke’s in Glasgow back in February. Great synth melody over the top too. Something you can really just funk out to. Might actually be my fave track on the whole album. If not then…it’s really up there!

Track ten – Flight Of Ideas: These guys really are the modern masters of the looped groove for me. I just love absolutely everything they produce. And – hidden singing sensation on the track – the one and only Steve Jefferis!

A cohesive collection of songs. A maturing of sound, I feel. A little less emphasis on the more motorik sound they had. They have certainly increased the funk ratio and the influences of the electronica that the band originally sprouted from has returned somewhat, but also matured.

Standout tracks for me are: Fools Tomorrow, Replication, Everyone Nervous and False Positive.

A very solid 4.5 stars out of five.

Flight Of Ideas is released on April 3rd, 2020, on the Memphis Industries label and can be pre-ordered online at the Warm Digits store. Click the LINK HERE for details.

Michael Rother Be Solo

A great and rather open interview with Michael Rother in Uncut magazine, exploring his music career, focusing on his time working with Klaus Dinger on Neu! – a rather fractious and strained musical partnership by Rother’s own account, moving on to Harmonia and finally working solo.

It has given me more musical off shoots to explore…

Why I Love…Factory

A fabulous synth intro from Mick, then a fabulous classic rock riff from Charlie.

And then….like the crashing elevator within the chorus, in comes Jim with such stilted and stark lyrics…getting straight to the point of it! It’s bleak. It’s dystopia! Industrial. Gritty. In a pea-soup fog. It’s a Lowry painting. It’s Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. (I love that film!)

But…we have a protagonist. The “man with a plan to escape”. He wants out! That’s not his future!

I hear this as semi-autobiographical. Jim was going to make damn sure, by hook or by crook, that his future did not see him in a 9-5 job, settled and married off by 21. He wanted so much more for himself than that (objective well and truly achieved, it is safe to say)!

As with the best Simple Minds songs, there is light and hope. The “black light” strikes again. These are the Minds songs I love the most. Because they carry that message of hope within them. The exterior is dark with a heavy subject matter. That opening verse and chorus are indeed, to me, like a Lowry painting. The “factory” in my mind is vivid…and obviously several floors high (it has at least one elevator after all).

“Factory / we all go out to lunch”…


There can be recurring themes in Kerr lyrics. An example: rain “Walking in the soft rain” – Someone Somewhere In Summertime. “Come/Get/Step in/out of the rain” – Waterfront. “The metal rains pour, pour, raining, raining down on me” – Premonition. “Oh I believe one great day the rain will come and wash this mess away” – Wall Of Love.

In this case, the use of the term “glittering prize” is used within the lyrics.

But…looking again. One could interpret the “man with a plan to escape” as…a plan for suicide. “A certain ratio we know has left us unaware / someone else has taken leave /someone who did care”. So, is the “plan to escape” escaping the tedium of working-class life? Or is it to TAKE one’s life?

Would Jim write something that Nihilistic? I very much doubt it. But…having started to write this, I can definitely see how some could interpret the lyrics from that angle.

Of course now it gives me the excuse of sharing one of my favourite snippets of David Bowie. He and Iggy Pop being interviewed by Dinah Shaw in 1977 (to those not familiar, Iggy’s real name is James Osterberg and he is Jim/Jimmy to his friends, hence the use of the name in the interview). David has such a wicked sense of humour. I love and miss this man so.


In summary: an industrial heart, sonically. The best of German “Krautrock” influences on and within it. And just that…Kerr gem of bringing light to the darkest of subject matter.

David Bowie…I love you, I really do. You enriched my life in so many ways that you will never know, and you are an amazingly gifted song-writer. But…I really, really love your little protege. (I hope Sir dosn’t get pissed at me for describing him so…because in fact, for me, as a song-writer, he surpassed David in my eyes long ago. Maybe not absolutely outright…but very definitely within certain elements of the craft and at certain stages in both their careers. He is certainly, most definitely on an equal parring, if not actually surpassing.)

And that is why I love Factory.