Magic Eye / Le Thug / Zed Penguin / Plastic Animals - Split 12” (4 stars)

Magic Eye / Le Thug / Zed Penguin / Plastic Animals - Split 12”

Four-band snapshot of Scotland’s more gloriously, and at times wilfully off-piste musical treats

(Song, by Toad)

Eclectica abounds on this four-band snapshot compendium of dispatches from some of the country’s more gloriously, and at times wilfully off-piste musical treats. Each provide two songs for this limited edition vinyl, alongside more of the same to be downloaded on purchase of an equally limited pack of customised beer.

Plastic Animals kick things off with ‘Sheltered’, a sci-fi grunge that counterpoints urgent guitars and manic synth squiggles with laidback stoner vocals. ‘Floating’ is jauntier, leaning to more hypnotically voguish dream-pop stylings. Magic Eye sound beamed in from behind a shoegazer’s fringe, so beguilingly lovely are the swooping female vocals and echo-box filtered guitar patterns on ‘Flamin’ Teenage’, which leaves plenty of swoonsome space to breathe. ‘Japan’ drifts off into similarly exotic waters, guitars pinging out oriental melodies as a spooky mantra coos.

Zed Penguin’s ‘Wandering’ is a spartan, raggedy-assed lost soul’s lament that sounds like it’s been standing in a corner of CBGB feeling sorry for itself for the last 30 years, biding its melancholy time before delivering something magnificently skewed and deliciously morose. Their second track, ‘Heathens’, is a moodier, spookier-sounding affair, which pokes its musical finger in your chest with a loose-knit insistence that you can’t help but be drawn into. On Le Thug’s ‘New Balance’, slo-mo washing machine drones provide a densely impressionistic backdrop for a vocal that sounds akin to One Dove’s quieter moments. Their second piece, ‘Sense in Scotland’, closes the record with a 13-minute epic that frames a nursery rhyme vocal with an increasingly dense chug. Building it into a monster-sized space rock soundscape underpinned with little kosmische rhythms, it pulses towards another stratosphere. All of which makes for a messy package tour in waiting.

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