Singles and Downloads
- Doug Johnstone
- 17 December 2009
Homecoming is over, right? So it’s OK to say that Hue and Cry are canine excrement of the highest order? Their version of the Rolf Harris ‘classic’ ‘Two Little Boys’ (Blair Hill) is a painfully smug loungecore abomination, an affront to all human ears taken from their cynical Christmas cash-in album. Repulsive.
Eddi Reader was another Homecoming darling, but she fares better with ‘Dragonflies’ (Rough Trade), a simple, effective country waltz with understated charm, something of a winter warmer.
More interesting homegrown sounds come from eagleowl. ‘Sleep the Winter’ (Kilter) is a gentle, somnambulant thrill, plaintive violin and picky guitar supporting the boy-girl vocal dynamic to create just the right blend of comfort and creepiness.
Jolting us out of that reverie are fellow Scots Pareto. ‘This is Where I Draw the Line’ (Ring Out) is a confident and charismatic noise-fest, although their jerky, loud-quiet schtick will be a tad familiar to fans of Biffy Clyro and their musical progeny.
Much less predictable are Livingston nu-prog-punk-whatevers Tabasco Fiasco. The five tracks on their ‘Tabasco Fiasco One EP’ (self-release) bring to mind everyone from Fugazi to Mansun, The Mars Volta to Bad Brains. It’s all expertly executed, and they manage to stay just the right side of self-indulgence.
Across the pond now, where Long Island foursome As Tall As Lions create a more focussed racket on their ‘Circles EP’ (Trussed), a record which blends the wide-eyed wonder of Arcade Fire with a refreshing willingness to experiment with electro sounds.
Briefly back to folky stylings again with ‘Spirited’ (Souterrain Transmissions) by Laura Gibson. Taking the same basic country ingredients as Eddi Reader, Gibson’s idiosyncratic voice and atmospheric arrangements create something more intriguing, haunting and accomplished.
But just gazumping Gibson for Single of the Fortnight is ‘So We Sing’ (City Slang) by leftfield Nashville singer Cortney Tidwell. Seething with barely contained rage at the world, it’s an immense, anthemic two-chord rant of a song, blending the rabble-rousing of Bruce Springsteen with the vocal conviction of Björk to make for something pretty wondrous.