The Son(s) –The Things I Love Are Not At Home (4 stars)


Alastair Cook

'Simple folky melodies surrounded by lush layers of varied, often cinematic sounds'

(Olive Grove Records)

The Son(s) is a mysterious outfit – apparently the solo continuation of what was a three-piece band (hence that awkwardly un-Googleable moniker), details about the people involved are scant. But, in a way, that only adds to the sense that this lush, woozy, cathartic trip just popped into the world fully formed. The Things I Love…, without being predictable, has that no-note-out-of-place sense of something that just sounds right.

One thing we do know about the album is that RM Hubbert features, and his percussive, almost flamenco-like style is there on tracks like closer ‘The Long Fuse’, just one of the many textures worked into a soft and subtly cohesive whole. There’s also some gorgeously warm, rough and ready brass and a distorted guitar solo on instrumental (doo doo doos aside) opener ‘Vinny and Ronnie Creeping On The Waitresses’. Something in that track’s laid-back persistence and swirling pianos is reminiscent of early instrumental Doves, and it’s a likeness that is borne out throughout the rest of album, along with a more than passing vocal resemblance to the wounded, softly falsetto mannerisms of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. That woundedness and the conspicuous sentimental wallowing of songs like ‘Polaroids’ won’t be for everyone, but the mood never stays too down for too long – ‘Death, With Castanets’ is a lovely slice of nineties-style jangle pop, with a characteristic, half-asleep kind of indistinctness to the vocals that only adds to the mystery of what ‘The Son’ might be saying.

Made for listening to while mooning around, gazing out of rain-streaked windows, The Son(s)’ music is the perfect accompaniment to a Scottish winter. Although original, these songs do fit the mould of something the Scottish music scene does very well at the moment: simple folky melodies surrounded by lush layers of varied, often cinematic sounds. Without too much second-guessing of motives, this feels like an offbeat labour of love; made against the odds of departing bandmates, it is decidedly idiosyncratic, and wholly refreshing.

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