Smackvan (4 stars)


Roxy Art House, Edinburgh, Sun 6 Jun

When Michael Feeney sings the lines ‘The world closed down / When we hid inside’ his opening gambit to the inaugural Edinburgh edition of Smackvan’s monthly Sunday Slow Club soirette, he might well be commenting on his band’s own shy nature. Having taken two decades to record two albums (a third remains unreleased), and a compilation on Edinburgh’s Benbecula label, Smackvan’s recent spate of activity is in danger of making them look prolific.

Not that they’ve come out of hibernation seeking puppy-dog approval. Smackvan’s core trio of Feeney, guitarist Owen McAuley and drummer Gerry Elliot aren’t quite comfortable with this live thing yet. Even in this set of low-lit vignettes, however, the tantalising hallmarks of a slow-burning greatness are evident, in a consciously minimalist palette of preciously crafted pre-post-rock guitar patterns that work by stealth into the heart. When Feeney’s beer bubbles onto his guitar, it’s an accident, but looks like the quietest of celebrations anyway.

The Slow Club

Relax to the moody, mellow, and murky strains of Tom Waits, John Barry, Brian Eno and Serge Gainsbourg, while classic films play in the background.

Mecheer and Smackvan

  • 4 stars

Electronica and atmospheric sounds at the Slow Club.

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