The Scottish Enlightenment, The Debuts and Callel


Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sat 3 Mar

The crowd are still filtering in when the openers take the stage, but are slowly drawn towards The Scottish Enlightenment (●●●●●) - a Dunfermline four-piece with the menace of Joy Division and the slacker indie cool of Pavement. Whether it’s their engrossing hooks, guitar flurries, or the occasional brooding soundscape, the band set a high benchmark.

The Debuts (●●●) take a different direction, offering enthusiastic but workmanlike rock - apart from ten glorious mid-set seconds where they hit a Mogwai-does-Queen vibe, which is over all too soon.

Aptly, perhaps, Callel (●●●●) attempt to bridge the gap between their predecessors. And, unsurprisingly perhaps, it’s a mess. Employing glockenspiel, kazoo and under-used strings, they seemingly aim to capture the essence of The Beach Boys, Weezer and The Delgados - sometimes all in the one song. Despite this excessive ambition, they have something; their airy tunes, lofty ideas, and engaging stage presence may see them become worthy bill-toppers on bigger stages.

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