Various Artists: Limbo Live Volume 1 (4 stars)


Anyone fortunate enough to attend the live music night Limbo at Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms on regular Thursdays will know that it’s run by people who know what’s best on the local musical landscape, and who have the luxury of applying some well-exercised quality control to their line-ups. So for aficionados of Scottish music, a 14-track live album of the best songs to have been played by some of the finest artists to get a gig there should be indispensible.

Of course, the breadth of bands appearing means that this is no regionalised C86 affair, and a wide range of genres are drawn upon. This is Scotland, though, so guitars are predominant. There’s a low-key stand-out right at the start in Zoey Van Goey’s gorgeous, folky ‘City is Exploding’, followed immediately by critical favourites Found and their rabble-energising ‘When You Fall’, keyboards soaring over agreeably Caledonian-accented vocals. Genres are there to be mangled throughout, with an odd blend of gypsy-folk and ska from Punch and the Apostles with ‘Asylum’, only quasi-irritating electro-pop in Isosceles’ ‘Get Your Hands Off’ and suitably hand-tooled New Waveisms throughout A-Lix’ ‘Never Grow’.

The demo tape fuzz to a lot of the tracks on here might be off-putting to many, although it’s perhaps better to think of it as a badge of authenticity, a wish-you-were-here message in the same vein as an early bootleg by a favourite artist who went on to bigger things. Certainly in Meursault’s precise epic ‘Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing with Tongues’ and the convincing tunefulness of Come on Gang!’s ‘Spinning Room’ and Haight Ashbury’s ‘Favourite Song’, there’s promise of big things beyond local heroism.

(Black Spring)

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