Premium Leisure is the solo project of songwriter, producer and guitarist Chris Barker. Fans of rising British artist Willie J Healey may recognize that the distinct guitar tones of Premium Leisure sound weirdly familiar … that would be because Barker is also the guitarist in Healey’s band, and their latest album Twin Heavy has gained a lot of traction across the UK since its release earlier this year.
With Premium Leisure, however, Barker takes the reins and delves into ’70s-inspired groovy psych-pop. He’s enlisted a who’s-who of Oxford’s burgeoning music scene to form the backbone of Premium Leisure, including Mike Monaghan (Saint Etienne, Gaz Coombes), Jack Kendrew (Pet Sematary), and Healey, and his first release of 2020 came in the form of “Remedies” earlier this year.
Now, the new track “Ready For Forever” has just been unveiled. Barker wrote “Ready for Forever” whilst questioning the longevity of what he’s doing with his life. Speaking of the track, Barker mentioned in a press release: “The song describes characters drifting about without any burdens or liability, asking me to give up the guilty conscience and loosen up.”
“Ready for Forever” also marks the sophomore release for Oli Barton-Wood’s South London label, Plum Cuts. Still in his 20s; Barton-Wood has contributed to some substantial indie releases, including Porridge Radio’s Mercury-nominated album and Nilüfer Yanya’s Miss Universe LP.
Compared to the laid-back, indie-lounge feel of “Remedies,” Premium Leisure’s latest offering takes things up a notch. Catchy, fuzzy, pop-sounding guitar lines open the track before George Harrison-esque vocals take over in the verse. The bridge sections briefly interlude the dreamy proceedings by with diminished chords until Barker’s lyrics preach of being “comfortably lost and occupied,” while also imploring us all to “give it up / liven up.”
With “Ready For Forever,” Premium Leisure invites the listener into a guitar-fueled, psych-pop journey where fun, laid-back vibes are strongly encouraged. It’s a welcome reminder to those of us who take our work and our lives a little too seriously from time to time that loosening up often bears sweet rewards that we should sample more often.