"Leathery Whip" finds Aldous Harding acknowledging that words alone are insufficient to persuade people to take action. Sometimes we need something painful to motivate us to make the necessary changes in our lives.
Why did Aldous Harding choose a "leathery whip" as the vehicle that drives us to change? "I'm just so moved by the idea that the worst of life can revolve and pop," she told Uncut magazine, "and become a cartoon and vice versa."
Jason Williamson of the British band Sleaford Mods contributes backing vocals. "We met at a festival in Australia," Harding told Uncut. "We have very respectful, unstable chemistry. I think he did that song in one take. His character is very at home on this record."
"Leathery Whip" is the closing track of Harding's fourth album, Warm Chris. Even more so than her earlier records, the New Zealander focuses on the feeling of the words instead of what they mean. Rather than being a reference to an actual person, the album title reflects Harding's focus on phonics.
"I was lying in the dark and it just came around the corner," she told Uncut. "It was 3:00 in the morning. I don't have an explanation. I didn't see its face. I said it out loud and it made me feel everything all at once. Like the work had finally arrived. It has its own individual culture. The culture will decide the meaning with time. Like 'violin' or 'basket.' It's called that simply because that's what I want to call it for the rest of its life."
PJ Harvey's producer and guitarist John Parish helmed the record, with all 10 tracks recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales. Released on March 25, 2022, Warm Chris became Harding's first #1 album in her native New Zealand.