Formed in 1994, David McAlmont and Bernard Butler had already experienced success, Butler as the guitarist in Suede, until his departure during the recording of their second album, Dog Man Star. McAlmont, a singer with a three octave range, had been part of the duo Thieves with Saul Freeman, subsequently releasing an album of their sessions under the name McAlmont in 1994.
The iconic “Yes", “a conceptual masterpiece, superbly arranged and thrillingly executed” was released in May 1995,reaching number 8 in the UK Singles Chart. Written in the autumn of 1994 it was recorded in Normandy France at the home of co-producer Mike Hedges just before Christmas in a frantic three day session which also bore the second single “You Do”. The release was delayed during which time weekend sessions were hastily arranged at London’s Rak Studios to lay down b-sides with a live group . The sessions were assisted and then engineered by a novice Nigel Godrich and produced by Butler, each track recorded and mixed on the same day. Butler recorded “How About You” and “Don’t Call It Soul” at home to 16-track, later mixed with Godrich. A singular live performance at London’s Hanover Grand was followed by the legendary performance on Later With Jools Holland . A second single, "You Do", reached number 17 in October. The recording sessions had produced enough material for a compilation album “The Sound of McAlmont and Butler” the full length bookended by the two singles and filled with genre defying classics “light years removed from the over familiar Britpop patch” .
After pursuing solo careers for several years, new collaboration "Falling", was welcomed warmly in 2002 to rave reviews followed by second single, "Bring it Back", and an album, Bring it Back, released later that year. This time the duo toured the UK and Ireland taking in festival and radio appearances with an accomplished band.
Several additional songs were written and recorded with the idea for a third album. The song "Speed", taken from those third album sessions, was released on Rough Trade Records on 7 August 2006 as a download and 7" single. An unfinished third album remains written , partially recorded and awaitiing completion.
In 2014 Bernard Butler organised two special shows as McAlmont & Butler in aid of the Bobath Centre , assisting children with cerebral palsy. The first show, originally intended for a small intimate audience, went on sale to the Union Chapel in London, selling out in minutes via social media. A quickly announced second show 200 metres away at Islington’s Assembly Hall went as quickly and the shows were a triumphant success, a joyous celebration of new and old songs. The backing band comprising three members of The Magic Numbers was completed by stalwart drummer Mako Sakamoto , clearly the third man in the sound since 1994, and backed by strings led by Sally Herbert and Eos Chater.
The third album and more shows await…..