Ward Thomas are back! After the brilliant lockdown album release of Invitation, the Hampshire-duo return with Music In The Madness - their fifth studio album - out March 10th, 2023.

Trust Ward Thomas to look for light in troubled times. Music In The Madness, the twins’ remarkable fifth album, is both a harmony-soaked balm for shattered souls and an uplifting reminder of what really matters.

More about the band

Love, family, unity and the healing power of music are recurrent themes on an album begun as war broke out in Ukraine and the world went into a post-Covid tailspin. While most of us struggled to sit through the news, Catherine and Lizzy did as they have for a decade – wrote songs to make sense of what they were seeing.

“In Ukraine in particular we witnessed these wonderful, moving moments of music in the madness,” says Catherine. “Soldiers singing the national anthem and getting married on the front line. The viral video of the girl in a bomb shelter singing Let It Go. In times of crisis, music matters even more. That’s what we set out to celebrate.”

A trip to Nashville in February – the Hampshire sisters’ second home since they recorded their debut in the city while still at school – nailed the spirit of the album. The first song written was the joyous title track, an Abba-meets-Americana ode to hope.

“It’s not about looking on the bright side,” says Lizzy. “It’s about finding the bright side which is already there, however hard it is sometimes to see.

“We’ve written in the past about the downside of social media. Now we’re seeing it as a force for good. It’s been a conduit for bringing people together, for sharing stories, songs and hope in the scariest of situations.”

Also begun on that Nashville trip was the mighty Justice and Mercy, the album’s first release before the title track drops as the official lead single in January. Unusually for Ward Thomas, the creepy country corker is a fictional tale, inspired by the pair’s shared love of true crime podcasts.

“It’s a fun story song about a wrong ’un who ruins lives on his travels and meets a sticky end,” says Lizzy. “I imagine it set in the ‘20s Western States, although we part based the psychopath on Putin.”

“There are two outcomes when you listen to true crime – one merciful, one justice-driven. Either the perpetrator has to die or his soul can be saved. There were some deep, bleak, religious discussions in that writing session. If one of us was murdered, would the other be team justice or team mercy?”

Ward Thomas returned to Hampshire with half a dozen songs captured mostly as voice memos on their mobiles. Sonically, some were a blank canvas, others steeped in the Country for which the duo are best known or veering towards the Americana of their most recent influences.”

“At the moment we’re listening to lots of Brandi Carlile, The Highwomen and Chris Stapleton,” says Catherine. “We still love the classics, the Carole King school of storytelling. Rather than stick to a specific sound, our plan was for the production and arrangements to be earthy and organic.”

In a first for the duo, the songs were recorded with their longstanding live band, at the suggestion of producer Ed Harcourt, which brought their live chemistry into the studio.

“Ed’s quite quirky, a real-deal musician, so perfect for these songs,” says Lizzy. “The process was mostly writing in Nashville, then coming home to record, usually at Jimmy Hogarth’s studio in West Hampstead, sometimes at Ed’s place.”

Before a second trip to Nashville in July, following a celebratory Glastonbury set, there was a time out for Catherine to get married. Both hen-do and wedding were typical Ward Thomas.

The former featured egg and spoon and sack races, apple bobbing, a scavenger hunt and ‘gymkhana’ drinking games – “jump without spilling your beer”, as organiser Lizzy describes it. The latter dispensed with cake-cutting, bouquet-throwing rituals in favour of a huge party in a marquee.

Catherine may insist that little has changed, but the love in the air left its mark. One of the album’s key tracks from the second Nashville trip is the acoustic spine-tingler Love Does, on which unusually the duo harmonise from start to finish and the lyrics will bring you to tears.

“That’s perhaps our favourite song we’ve ever written,” says Lizzy. “It’s not necessarily a single, but the lyrics capture the heart of this album, in particular the line ‘Who could softly whisper louder than a tyrant when he shouts? Love does’.

“Life is so mixed up and messy. Love is its stabilising force. Love in all its forms is what saves us. It makes us do the most insane things, makes us stay when it’s easier to go, makes us walk through fire for someone. Nothing competes with love. And when a crisis happens, you see it in bucketloads.”

The power of love anchors the poppy, piano-led If It All Ends Today and the album’s most vulnerable, stripped-back song, Loved By You, about relationship anxieties and self-destruction.

“Loved By You is really raw sounding because of the subject matter,” says Catherine. “It’s so open and honest and personal. The verses take you through fear of commitment to feeling broken to finally looking forward to the future. It’s a deep love song, written for anyone with anxiety issues.

“We recorded the piano with a mic by the pedals, so you can hear some of the squeaks. It accentuates the raw feeling. It’s the opposite of a typical love song, despite the happy ending.”

Co-written and produced by former Cage The Elephant guitarist Lincoln Parish, All Over Again is an emphatic ode to no regrets steeped in synths and shimmering guitars. Next To You the sisters call Carry You Home 2.0, a follow-on from the lead single from 2016’s chart-topping Cartwheels, which could be about their own bond or a romantic relationship.

‘Joan of Arc’ is a battle anthem co-written with Ed Harcourt, about fighting back and standing up for yourself, while the closer on Side A of the album vinyl is a spectacular reworking of Razorlight’s ‘America’ drenched in the twins’ trademark harmonies.

“We love the challenge of playing around with a song and making it our own,” says Lizzy. “Are we Razorlight fans? Not especially, but we do adore that song.”

Still only 28, Catherine and Lizzy are on a roll, already working on a sixth album which they plan to release before they turn 30.

“We have so much new music we can’t wait to take on tour,” says Catherine. “We’re hoping to have an extremely busy 2023. Our tour starts in March on our 29th birthday and we have more we want to achieve before we hit the 30 milestone.

“We look up to artists like Brandi Carlile, whose career has grown organically. Of course, we love success, but the artists we admire are the ones who keep showing up and don’t sell out. We do what we do because we love music and we have something to say. For as long as that continues, there will be Ward Thomas.”

More about the album

The record’s first offering is the captivating ‘Justice & Mercy’ that was revealed in full last night by Bob Harris on his infamous Radio 2 show – listen here & watch lyric video here. Begun on a Nashville trip, the creepy country corker is a fictional tale, inspired by the pair’s shared love of true crime podcasts.

“It’s a fun story song about a wrong ’un who ruins lives on his travels and meets a sticky end,” says Lizzy. “I imagine it set in the ‘20s Western States, although we partly based the psychopath on Putin. There are two outcomes when you listen to true crime – one merciful, one justice-driven. Either the perpetrator has to die or his soul can be saved. There were some deep discussions in that writing session. If one of us was murdered, would the other be team justice or team mercy?”

 

Music In The Madness is both a harmony-soaked balm for shattered souls and an uplifting reminder of what really matters. Love, family, unity and the healing power of music are recurrent themes on an album begun as war broke out in Ukraine and the world went into a post-Covid tailspin.

“In Ukraine in particular we witnessed these wonderful, moving moments of music in the madness,” says Catherine. “Soldiers singing the national anthem and getting married on the front line. The viral video of the girl in a bomb shelter singing Let It Go. In times of crisis, music matters even more. That’s what we set out to celebrate.”

An aforementioned trip to Nashville in February – the Hampshire sisters’ second home since they recorded their debut in the city while still at school – nailed the spirit of the album.

Ward Thomas then returned to Hampshire with half a dozen songs captured mostly as voice memos on their mobiles. In a first for the duo, the songs were recorded with their long standing live band, at the suggestion of producer Ed Harcourt, which brought their live chemistry into the studio.

Before a second trip to Nashville in July, following a celebratory Glastonbury set, there was a time out for Catherine to get married. Both hen-do and wedding were typical Ward Thomas. Catherine may insist that little has changed, but the love in the air left its mark.

One of the album’s key tracks from the second Nashville trip is the acoustic spine-tingler ‘Love Does’, on which unusually the duo harmonise from start to finish and the lyrics will bring you to tears.

Co-written and produced by former Cage The Elephant guitarist Lincoln Parish, ‘All Over Again’ is an emphatic ode to no regrets steeped in synths and shimmering guitars. ‘Next To You’ the sisters call Carry You Home 2.0, a follow-on from the lead single from 2016’s chart-topping Cartwheels, which could be about their own bond or a romantic relationship.

‘Joan of Arc’ is a battle anthem co-written with Ed Harcourt, about fighting back and standing up for yourself, while the closer of Side A on the vinyl is a spectacular reworking of Razorlight’s ‘America’ drenched in the twins’ trademark harmonies.

Still only 28, Catherine and Lizzy are on a roll and already working on a sixth album which they plan to release before they turn 30.

“We look up to artists like Brandi Carlile, whose career has grown organically. Of course, we love success, but the artists we admire are the ones who keep showing up and don’t sell out. We do what we do because we love music and we have something to say.”

Booking information

Please note that Booking Fees apply on the following transactions:
Online: £1.50 per ticket + £1.50 postage or free collection at the Box Office.
Print at home tickets: These can be emailed to you on the account you have registered with DLWP free of charge (booking fees apply)
Telephone: £3.50 per transaction + £1.50 postage or free collection at the Box Office
There will be a cheaper booking fee for events under £10 (booking fee = £1.00) and under £5 (booking fee = 50p).
Free events booked online are not subject to a booking fee.
There is no booking fee for tickets purchased over the counter.

Please note that we are only able to post tickets within the UK. If you live overseas please select box office collection or print at home tickets. Tickets purchased for post will be sent 10 – 14 days before the show date.

All tickets include a Restoration Levy of £1 and will be subject to an additional £1.50 booking fee per ticket. Postage of tickets adds an additional £1.50 postage charge. Other options include having your tickets emailed to the email registered to your DLWP account to print from home or free collection at the Box Office.

The following are exempt from the Restoration Levy: Learning & Participation events, events associated with exhibitions, family shows that include a child ticket price, OUTLANDS events and Music’s Not Dead events in our Café Bar. Also exempt are those organisations that hire the Pavilion where they are offered a community rate, amateur shows or are in receipt of a concession from Rother District Council.

Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Eat before the show

Book online: Pre-show dining can be booked online as an add-on when purchasing tickets for selected events. You will be purchasing a ticket to guarantee your meal before the show.
Please note you must be a ticket holder to the show to book pre-show dining.

Already booked your tickets? If you’ve already booked tickets for a show and would like to add dining, please contact Box Office: boxoffice@dlwp.com

On the night: If you have pre-booked please come to the bar to order from the gig menu and sit at one of the reserved tables.

No re-entry

Please be aware that we operate no re-entry for gigs. This means that once you have entered the building, you cannot go out and re-enter. This policy is in line with other major music venues across the UK and put in place on police advice. No re-entry is clearly signposted as you come through security on the front door.
There is a fenced-off area on the terrace for people who go out to smoke or vape.

Staying locally

There are plenty of welcoming and good value B&Bs & boutique hotels in Bexhill. The De La Warr Pavilion regularly uses the following:

Travel information
  • By Rail
    Direct trains go from London Victoria, Brighton and Ashford to Bexhill.
    There are also trains from London Charing Cross, changing at St. Leonards Warrior Square and from London Bridge or Charing Cross going to Battle. Battle is only a short taxi journey away (15 mins approx).
    Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for up-to-date train travel information.
  • Taxis
    Town Taxis:  01424 211 511
    Parkhurst Taxis:  01424 733 456
  • By Car
    If driving from the London area:
    Take the M25, then A21 to Hastings. Turn off at John‘s Cross and follow the signs to Bexhill.
    OR
    Take the A22 to Eastbourne, go across the Bishop roundabout to the A271 and follow the signs to Bexhill and the seafront. The De La Warr Pavilion is on the Marina.
    From the Brighton area:
    Follow the A27 out of Brighton until you arrive in Bexhill On Sea.
  • Parking
    Please be aware the Rother District car park outside the De La Warr Pavilion operates paid parking until 8pm. After this time parking is free.
Accessibility

Within the limits of this Grade One listed building, the De La Warr Pavilion strives to be fully accessible with a range of facilities to support your visit.

Assistance Dogs are permitted into the building.

Please contact the Box Office on boxoffice@dlwp.com to arrange a visit.

Facilities for disabled visitors

  • Ramped access at the front of the building
  • A low counter at the Box Office and  Information Desk
  • Disabled toilets on two floors
  • A lift to all floors
  • Accessible galleries on both floors
  • An accessible Café
  • Spaces for wheelchairs in the auditorium for seated events
  • Ramped access in the auditorium for events during the day
  • Ramped access into the Studio
  • Two travel wheelchairs are available for use at the De La Warr Pavilion. To reserve, please call our box office and information desk on (01424) 229111 or ask a member of staff on arrival. The chairs are provided on a first come, first served basis and are intended for use inside the Pavilion. Please contact us for more information.

Facilities for blind or visually-impaired

  • Large print season brochures

Facilities for the hard-of-hearing

  • An T-Switch induction loop in some areas of the auditorium (please indicate when booking as this facility is not available on the balcony)
  • British Sign Language interpretation tours of the building and exhibitions are available on request.