For Lawler Codeine Velvet Club offers a respite from the whirlwind of touring, recording and non-stop promo that enveloped The Fratellis after their debut album, 'Costello Music', exploded in 2006, buoyed by a string of anthemic singles including 'Chelsea Dagger' and 'Henrietta'. When the promotional commitments for the group's second album, 'Here We Stand', ended in March this year, it was agreed that the Glasgow three-piece should take a well-earned breather.
Never one for resting on his laurels Jon offered to help write a track for family friend Lou Hickey. 'Vanity Kills', as it came to be titled, emerged as a swaying, jazzy, big-band duet, tinged with noir-ish menace and shades of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood's waspish 1960s guy-gal duelling. The quality of the track inspired the pair to embark on their own album, a record which Jon wanted to sound like "John Barry playing with a rock'n'roll band".
The album began to fall into place early this year, with the taut, shimmering album opener 'Hollywood', the Mariachi-inflected 'Time', and the widescreen, cinematic sweep of 'Nevada', whose elegant orchestral score was written by Belle & Sebastian's Mick Cooke. There was room for some rockers too: the carousing 'Little Sister', and 'I Would Send You Roses', a track Jon had originally written for Roger Daltrey.
Jon luxuriated in his newfound musical freedom, drafting in the Gospel Truth Choir for some backing vocals, and even managing to squeeze an electric sitar onto the eerie, Pulp Fiction-flavoured ballad 'The Black Roses'. Meanwhile the strings and brass parts were recorded by an orchestra of top flight classical musicians, including legendary trumpeter Derek Watkins, who has the remarkable claim of playing on all the Bond themes since the first in 1962.
The album comes to a close with the gorgeous 'Reste Avec Moi', the moody and beautiful 'Like A Full Moon' and the elegiac 'Begging Bowl Blues'. Casting round for a name that summed up the mood and noir-ish glamour of the record, Lawler and Hickey settled on Codeine Velvet Club.