The Mysterines share single ‘Stray’ and tell us about “unapologetic” new album ‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’

The Mysterines have announced their second album ‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’ and shared lead single ‘Stray’. Check it out below, along with an exclusive interview with singer Lia Metcalfe.

Due for release June 7, ‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’ is the follow-up to 2022’s debut album ‘Reeling’ and follows on from a stint supporting Arctic Monkeys in UK stadiums last summer.

“It’s almost feels like it would have made more sense if our albums were released the other way round,” Metcalfe told NME, with ‘Reeling’ focussing more on massive hooks and big singalongs while ‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’ sees the band leaning more on their psych, grunge and alternative influences.


“I prefer to create a more intimate connection with fans rather than blowing their heads off with a huge riff. That’s fun, but it’s not why I listen to music and we’ve really embraced that with ‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’.”

She continued: “‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’ holds a lot of darkness and there’s more weight to it than ‘Reeling’, which was driven by character and narrative. I didn’t want to be so literal this time around. There’s a lot of fear and paranoia across the record, but it takes you on a journey to the title track, which sees us trying to end things on a happier note. I just want fans to know this album has come from a very honest place.”

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Lead single ‘Stray’ was written after The Mysterines “re-indulged” in the music that shaped their childhood and was inspired by 2022 film Meet Me In The Bathroom, which explored the New York scene of the ‘90s and ‘00s through bands like The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem and Interpol. “We wanted to create a song that would fit in that world,” said Metcalfe. “The documentary followed our favourite bands as they experienced massive highs but also showed the struggles they faced. That narrative can definitely be heard in ‘Stray’.”

Metcalfe continued: “’Stray’ is about the behaviours you deal with within yourself when you’re trying to process trauma. You go through these highs and lows, and this song explores the confusion that comes from that turmoil.

She added: “It has become a cathartic song to play live but when it was written, the lyrics felt like they fell out the sky”.


‘Stray’ has already made its way into The Mysterines’ live set and is the first song released from ‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’ because it “felt like the right introduction to this new era of the band. Plus we didn’t want to give fans [unreleased fan-favourite track] ‘The Last Dance’ just yet,” she grinned.

Metcalfe said she wants ‘Stray’ to give fans “the same experience of freedom and release” that she gets from playing it. “It’s all about creating a connection and right now, that’s more important than ever,” she added.

The accompanying music video for ‘Stray’ was directed by Matilda Harding-Kemp and further explores the idea of “processing trauma and feeling stuck,” with Metcalfe wrestling with knotted ropes. “Me and Matilda both wanted to convey this dark feminine energy but also touch on women’s mental health. It’s easy to love someone when they’re at their best but we need to appreciate people’s dark times as well. It’s about feeling trapped and needing to save yourself but also showcases how I’m taking power over a situation.”

The video sees Metcalfe performing a fully choreographed dance routine, something she says she’s “never done before but it was fun”.

“As an artist, you should always be pushing yourself to do more and test what feels comfortable,” she admitted.

The Mysterines 'Afraid Of Tomorrows' press photo
The Mysterines ‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’ press photo. CREDIT: Sylas Agtarap

Metcalfe went on to say that The Mysterines have a lot more confidence returning to the fore with their second LP. “I’ve been through way too much to not overindulge in creating something new, when given the opportunity,” she explained. “The driving force behind this band has always been for it to be this outlet for creativity. Whenever I feel panicky or a bit lost, I tap into that inner child and remember why I started doing this. This new album feels unapologetic.

“There are some ridiculous moments on the record but if we don’t do it now, when are we going to do it? That’s why I respect artists like Lou Reed and Patti Smith. They did the thing that everyone thought you shouldn’t, and that’s how they made their mark. That’s how you create something unique.”

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The Mysterines wrote close to 40 tracks for ‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’ with the ones that “provoked an emotion” making the cut. “If you can freak yourself out a little bit, you’re probably making something meaningful and hopefully you can cause a similar reaction in other people,” she offered.

As well as taking inspirations from a number of musical directions, Metcalfe was also inspired by Billie Holiday autobiography Lady Sings The Blues. “Before reading it, I was always more into Nina Simone and Etta James but that book really shook something within me. I was reminded to not give up and never settle for less, even from myself.”

“There were times I did want to give up because writing these songs was so emotionally draining but I just kept reminding myself that Billie Holiday wouldn’t give up,” she added. “Her story is so visceral and traumatic but then you hear her sing, and it’s so powerful. It just reminded me that I’m not the only one in the world who’s gone through trauma.”

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As well as the release of ‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’, The Mysterines have a busy summer of festivals and headline shows to look forward to. “We practice a lot more, so hopefully we’re better live nowadays,” said Metcalfe. “There’s something about these new songs that means I deliver them with more conviction as well.”

The band will also be showcasing the lessons they learned on the road with the Arctic Monkeys. “That was the most surreal experience ever,” Metcalfe admitted. “It still feels like a fever dream we all had. They really looked after us and it was really inspiring to see a band from the North of England in their position. As huge and respected as they are, they’re so grounded and humble.”

“Because they were so relaxed and had so much fun with every show, that loosened us up,” Metcalfe added. “It allowed me to enjoy how mad it was that I was playing stadiums with my mates. It was also a good reminder that nothing has to be super serious all the time.”

‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’ is due for release June 7 via Fiction Records. Pre-order it here.