Howie Reeve – Easterhouse, Glasgow, Fri 26 Sep (4 stars)

Howie Reeve

Greg Neate

Songwriter and bassist mesmerises with honest, intimate lyrics and post-punk virtuoso

Unleashing his second album, We Are in Repair, upon the world, songwriter / bassist Howie Reeve rolls into Easterhouse accompanied by some close friends. First, Keith John Adams, a slightly punkish but very pop poet whose instantly appealing songs fair crackle with positivity, despite their roots in defeat and sorrow. The improv trio of Jer Reid (guitar), Stu Brown (drums) and Matthew Bourne (keys) flows from tentative beginning to clattering, savage avant-post-punk groove. At the mid-point, an eccentric whirl of twitchy synths melts into a downbeat, contemplative finale, where a lesser ensemble would have lunged for cacophony.

While his supports may seem wildly disparate, they do reflect aspects of Reeve’s aesthetic. He exists somewhere between post-punk virtuoso, innovative non-linear avant-gardist, and honest and intimate lyricist. He’s singular and contradictory, his between-song chat hilariously obscene and surreal, the songs warmly poignant, impressionistic glimpses of the human condition.

His playing encompasses these extremes, too; though bass is rarely deployed as a solo instrument, Reeve is a master of its contours, from chiming harmonics to guttural lows, jagged rambunctiousness to mellifluous beauty. Tonight, surrounded by friends, including guest musicians Jenny Bell and Rory Haye, and playing an extra-length set, he’s at his most warm and engaging, twanging heartstrings and funny bones alike.

Platform, Easterhouse, Glasgow, Fri 26 Sep.

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