The second hand marching band
- Malcolm Jack
- 5 February 2009
Is This Music? @ 13th Note, Glasgow, Thu 15 Jan
With How To Swim, Broken Records and The Parsonage all going strong, Scottish bands with more personnel than a football squad are in vogue. The 22-piece SHMB – a collective featuring members of other local notables including Danananaykroyd, Eagleowl and Remember Remember – have their own take on the loadsofpeoplesinging thing: they’re a giant choir-come-orchestra, sans a specific frontperson (lead vocals are passed around throughout the set).
They launched their debut EP A Dance to Half Death here, on a surge of brass, glockenspiels, acoustic guitars, ukuleles, drums and quite possibly – hidden up the back – the kitchen sink. A communal, swaying magnificence – caught somewhere between the roughshod Balkan folk of Beirut and the mass instrumental oomph of Arcade Fire – it delivered a mighty strength and depth of emotional punch indeed.
Capturing SHMB’s spirit on record will surely be murder, but live they’re blossoming into something big and beautiful (definitely big, anyway).