Four-piece Sawlung seem to have an intricate understanding of the basis of emo music garnered the hard way.
Their complicated music is heavily relatable and exceptionally gripping, with unapologetically raw vocals from Wull Swales.
Kenni Campbell plays the guitar vivaciously and veraciously with the intensity and passion that make him one of my favourite guitarists in Glasgow; his work – in this band or elsewhere (The Sinking Feeling, FRAUEN) – are acoustically unlike any other music I listen to.
It seems like GoldMold has him under lock and key with FRAUEN’s debut album earlier this year and with The Sinking Feeling releasing two EP’s this year, for which I am leg-rubbingly excited.
This is Sawlung’s first gig – their on-stage presence and some of the overall intensity brought seems still to be under development, which is acceptable and not at all a problem; they are still settling in.
Their songs, however, do not feel as if they are under development; their music is mature, well-developed, dripping with emotional intensity and impeccably well suited to my ears; they’re certainly a band to watch out for in 2017.
Swales gets down from the stage for a biscuit and a wee seat before getting right back up to play bass for Lovers Turn to Monsters – the other side of the Sawlung/Lovers Turn to Monsters split around which the night revolves.
Singer and principle lover/monster Kyle Wood remains true to words he spoke to me in the smoking area before the show.
He says he is not a fan of heavy music, but loves the acoustic singer/songwriter elements that tended to feature on albums of such artists.
His music echoes that with a curious mixture of levity and depth, Wood indulges in an inordinate amount of inter-song discourse – at times I feel like screaming “play a damn song”.
LTTM play music that aches of the softer side of the East Coast American emo a lot of us grew up with, indeed both LTTM and Sawlung possess this quality.
Nice lyrics coat pleasant ukulele lines amidst tight, technical drum work, low prolific bass and sparse, well-implemented guitar work.
Wood’s vocals are non-formulaic, diverse and fitting, pretty good in a technical sense as well; the vocals remind me of Japandroids – there you are.
Wood swaps his ukulele for an acoustic guitar with a harmonica attached, talks mince for what feels like an entire day before playing another pair of nice songs.
Some fans seem to know the last song in its entirety, singing every word – thereby saving Wood the trouble.
Overall and in keeping with these monthly showcases, tonight’s event is convivial, vibrant, fun and in service of some excellent new music.
By putting on these free, diverse shows each month, GoldMold remains one of Glasgow’s most inclusive labels.
Words: Paul Aitken