The Sick-Leaves' 4th studio album, Breaking Away was released on January 23rd 2012.
Breaking Away is a jubilant, victorious, uplifting experience.
Breaking Away was originally envisioned to be an EP but once completed clocked in at an explosive thirty minutes following the inclusion of the most recently written song and first radio single Catfights In Bushes.
Over the course of 2011 six tracks off Breaking Away were tracked at SABC’s M5 and Openroom studios with Darryl Torr and the remaining two tracks were recorded at Sting studios with Matthew Fink. Matthew Fink, who had produced The Sick-Leaves SAMA nominated first & second albums, mixed and produced Breaking Away.
According to Jacobsz the recording process for Breaking Away was definitely the most difficult to date. “The writing process was very easy and the songs were written quite fast, but recording took much longer than what I anticipated.” Tracking was done at Openroom Studios from January to March.
An extra track, Crying (Roy Orbison cover) was recorded during this period but is not included on the album. This cover is available as a digital download from The Sick-Leaves website.
The natural progression is for Jacobsz to produce the next Sick-Leaves album due to the experience gained through the recording process for this and the previous three Sick-Leaves releases. Jacobsz reflects on how as a solo artist it was, quite frustrating to get the sounds, arrangements and mixes right for the demo album in a relative short amount of time, but then the recording and mixing process took many months to reach completion.
This was the first album where Jacobsz had the album title ready before any of the songs were written. The phrase Breaking Away represented to him escapism. What motivated Jacobsz when he wrote this set of songs was that there would be no constraint placed on the songs as to whether they should be short enough for radio play, whether any record label would be interested to pick it up or whether it would make sense to mainstream critics compared to previous releases. A big criterion was that the songs would be allowed to follow their own path to completion during the songwriting process.
With the album title, Breaking Away, playing around in his head, Jacobsz searched for images to personify the words and make a bold, powerful statement.
He stumbled across the cover photograph online and immediately knew it was exactly the image he was looking for. Jacobsz explains his excitement at finding the photograph, “I couldn't believe my luck that the photograph hadn't been used before apart from in National Geographic's Space issue.
Space and especially the space shuttle program have always fascinated me. I knew the Space Shuttle program was coming to an end at the time and that it would be an even more iconic and historic picture to use for a Sick-Leaves album cover.”
The striking album artwork features a photograph of space shuttle Endeavour blasting off from Kennedy Space centre, Florida on March 11th 2008. It was captured by US photographer James N. Brown (www.ov-103.com
) in fitting with the power, boldness and energy of the songs on this fourth release.
The photograph has been featured in the special National Geographic "Space" issue of November 2008 (bit.ly/tn6OW9
) and is one of the photographer’s personal favourite photos to date with no post editing having been done at all.
After turning the volume dial a notch down on ‘Last Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy, Jacobsz felt that he wanted to record an album that sonically combined all the elements of the previous three Sick-Leaves releases. “Breaking Away might very well be the loudest set of songs I’ve recorded thus far. It was my full intention when I went into the studio and I’m so pleased with the variety of tones and the feel that came to be for each song. This might be due to the fact that recording went on for such a long time compared to the shorter time spent on recording for LDOTSF”.
Jacobsz asserts “Breaking Away is for me a culmination of the past 7 years' experience I've gained through recording music, playing it live and living.
For me it is the most enjoyable Sick-Leaves album to listen to and also the most representative of the sound I am after. It also closes a chapter in my musical career as I feel that on the next album I will go for a totally different direction and feel than the previous four.
I don't want to fall into the trap of repeating myself consequently I have set myself the challenge to re-invent my own sound and to experiment with other alternative genres. If it takes a few years or even a decade to find it, then so be it.”