Doug Johnstone - The Ossians (3 stars)

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Doug Johnstone - The Ossians

(Viking)

ROCK’N’ROLL DRAMA

Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll is the old cliché but Doug Johnstone gives it new definition in this young-indie-band-on-the-road fictional travelogue. Naming themselves after an invented Scottish mythmaker, The Ossians have high ideals for their music and nationality which are then shattered on the winter-exposed hills of a north Scotland tour. In a self-conscious style, the story races around the country reflecting the best and worst of Robert Louis Stevenson’s softly shining lands and Irvine Welsh’s ‘Scotland is shite’ attitude.

Arrogant frontman Connor is full of pills, drink and self-loathing and the promise of his self-destruction at a final deal-breaking gig in Glasgow gives the story undeniable momentum. Johnstone’s writing doesn’t avoid all the clichéd pitfalls of such a plot, but The Ossians entertains where the band does not, in the uncharted corners of an unseen Scotland.

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