Quiet since 2003, BBMak is making noise again.
Since releasing a new single, “Bullet Train,” during April, it’s been common knowledge the Liverpool pop trio has its third album — and first in 17 years — in the works and expected out during August. Billboard can now exclusively reveal that the album title is Powerstation, featuring 10 new songs from Christian Burns, Mark Barry and Stephen McNally. The set was produced by the group with Jonathan Radford Mead, Steve Chrisanthou (Corinne Bailey Rae) and Firebox. “Lyrically, this album has grown a little bit from our last album,” Burns tells Billboard. “The voices have changed slightly — and not necessarily for the worse. Just changed and matured. And we’ve all experienced a lot in our lives over the past 16 years.” And while Powerstation certainly sounds familiar, there’s also musical growth the trio will be revealing as well.
“I think the main thing is we’ve experimented with some different sounds and some electronic elements on the album,” says Burns, who since 2012 has been working with BT in the electronic group All Hail the Silence, which has its own album coming this year and will also be touring during the summer with Howard Jones. “But it’s not an electronic album. It’s very guitar-led. It’s just different flavors, really, experimenting with different techniques of recording, different ways to articulate the (vocal) harmonies in the production process. But on the whole, it’s the three of us together, singing that BBMak sound. That’s the glue of what we do.”
Ending an open-ended hiatus that began in 2003, the BBMak reunion started during late 2017 and, according to Burns, was not forced or foisted upon him, Barry and McNally. “We’ve remained friends the whole time,” he says. “About 18 months ago we got together and were having a jam with guitars, singing a few of the old songs. I posted it on Facebook or something — ‘Oh, look who popped in to see me today’ — and (the reaction) was just crazy. We were like, ‘Wow, that was a lot of fun,’ and we really enjoyed singing together again. It just felt natural, the right time.”
BBMak — which has sold more than three million copies of its first two albums, with Billboard Hot 100 hits such as “Back Here” and “Out of My Heart” — played four reunion dates last year in Liverpool, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. During May the group also staged a Back Here Tour in the U.S., and Burns promises there’s more where that came from — including BBMak’s first U.S. national television performance on Aug. 20, playing “Bullet Train” on ABC’s Good Morning America — and that the group is a going concern once again.
“Yeah, we’re back this time,” he says. “We’ve had such an amazing time together doing the album and doing shows again. We do actually get on as friends; We can spend a lot of time together and not kill each other. We actually love going out on the road and everything, so it’s great to be back and we’re definitely loving it.”
The track list for Powerstation includes:
1. Bullet Train
2. So Far Away
3. No One Like You
4. Uncivil War
5. You Don’t See Me
6. We Can Be Lovers
8. Falling Up
9. Out Of Time