Broken Chanter, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, Thu 17 Oct (3 stars)

Live review: Broken Chanter, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, Thu 17 Oct

David MacGregor of Kid Canaveral performs songs from his new, experimental and atmospheric project

Best known as guitarist and vocalist of Scottish alt-pop band Kid Canaveral, David MacGregor unveiled Broken Chanter this year, the adopted moniker of his new solo project. The self-titled debut album released last month features a slew of supporting musicians and vocalists on MacGregor's indie avant-pop songs.

Broken Chanter is currently on a Scottish tour, joined most nights by Adam Ross of Glasgow band Randolph's Leap. Ross starts the night at Sneaky Pete's in Edinburgh with a solo acoustic set of Randolph's Leap's whimsical indie pop songs which are unmistakably reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian. He does his best to encourage the crowd to sing along on a couple numbers, but it's a small, shy audience who seem more content to simply listen.

MacGregor takes the stage next, joined by his live band featuring a guitarist, keyboardist, violinist and drummer. Unfortunately, they immediately encounter some technical difficulties from the first song, but the band push through. 'Don't Move to Denmark' is a highlight with synths, violin, and heartbreaking lyrics like 'Don't move to Denmark / don't stay on my behalf' and 'What if you stay and I disappoint you?' The songs sound remarkably Scottish thanks to MacGregor's Glaswegian accent and at times bring the emotional intensity of Frightened Rabbit to mind.

They play most, if not all, nine tracks from the album including standouts 'Wholesale', 'Occupy My Hours' and 'Besides Ourselves' with MacGregor often accompanied by other band members on vocals. Midway through the set, MacGregor takes a stab at the Gaelic song 'Mionagadanan', which was sung by traditional Scottish singer Kim Carnie on the album, but it just doesn't have the same impact without her voice.

MacGregor throws in a couple Kid Canaveral songs, including the favourite 'First We Take Dumbarton' before finishing a relatively short set with the atmospheric album closer, 'Free Psalm'. The crowd cries out for more, but the band calls it a night as they needed to drive straight up to Aberdeen for the following night's gig. Broken Chanter's studio recordings are ambient and beautiful, but it seems that MacGregor and the band need a bit more time to best translate them live.

Broken Chanter, The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, Fri 18 Oct; Braemar Gallery, Sat 19 Oct, and touring.

Broken Chanter

New solo guise of David MacGregor, better known as the principal songwriter of Kid Canaveral.

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