Burnt Island (4 stars)

Burnt Island

Mono, Glasgow, Sun 7 Mar 2010

This was the launch party for Music & Maths, the debut album from the group christened after Scotland’s most evocatively named place – but Burnt Island’s supporting cast wasn’t bad either. The Second Hand Marching Band and Benni Hemm Hemm, two youthful names to watch, teamed up first, with the more experienced Aidan Moffat delivering a set which saw Burnt Island singer Rodge Glass declare him ‘Scotland’s future poet laureate’. And why not, while we’re swapping media? After all, Glass is better known himself as a novelist, critic and biographer of Alasdair Gray.

In his neat white shirt and smart trousers, the singer looked like he was dressed for a book signing, but he seemed perfectly at home on stage. The band (four boys and a girl) played a gentle kind of indie-folk which sailed along on Rik Evans’ violin and Amber Comerford’s soft backing vocals, but Glass is the real presence here. His vocals are strong, the melodies bittersweet, his performance of the lyrics during tracks like ‘The Moments Before’ and ‘Man on Fire’ strong and focused. Which is quite unsurprising, given his day job.

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