Category Archives: record review

Heavy Rapids – ‘Crying Shame’

Heavy Rapids is a guitar band with attitude, the four-piece release their new single ‘Crying Shame’, which is strong garage rock with a punk influence.

Having only formed in 2017 you would be forgiven for believing they have been on the circuit for some time.

A solid backline of driving bass, crashing drums, strong rhythms with in your face rock ‘n’ roll vocals put them right up there with the resurgence of punk influenced garage rock bands.

Lyrically it takes you back to original punk values having a go at today’s reality TV driven youth who don’t see the importance of individuality.

Angry and anthemic the strong chorus will surely make this a live favourite with cries of ‘This Generation Has Gone Insane’.

Words: Derek McCutcheon

LOVE SICK – ‘Hope’ [B3SCI]

‘Hope’ is the second song to be released by Glasgow based duo LOVE SICK and, with sincere vocals and powerful instrumental, it is a beautifully constructed song with indie and electro elements to it.

Julie’s voice is stunningly pure with a lovely sense of melody, both powerful but delicate when necessary.

With limited instrumentation ‘Hope’ is an exquisite understated song, which is still incredibly powerful using only a few driving elements.

Combining synth and rhythm with a mesmerising voice creates this beautifully atmospheric track which you feel like you are floating along with.

An incredible new band that have already created a mystique about them, a definite must listen to.

Words: Krist McKenna

Anna Meredith – ‘Calion’ [Adult Swim]

Throughout her career thus far, Anna Meredith’s virtuoso talents translate into heady reinventions over safe continuity, and it’s safe to say that any sense of predictability is blitzed by avalanche tracks like her latest Adult Swim release, ‘Calion’.

Bounding along meteorological shifts in percussion, ‘Calion’ is an exhilarating journey through darkling arpeggios rising to maelstroms of polyrhythmic bliss, culminating in all out club-ready catharsis.

The track’s opening bears echoes of New Order—in particular the harrowing synth-laden ‘Elegia’—but soon slips into a pulsing dancefloor cut that drags us, sirens soaring, into a slow crescendo towards something more shrieking and stirring.

What strikes about ‘Calion’ is that seamless weaving of bright, samba-like percussion over metallic synths and fat drum-claps, creating this vertiginous air of retro-futurity.

If New Order effect a glistering melancholia from their twisting synths and dark wave requiem, Meredith concocts a closing world of total euphoria.

Her compositional talents easily blend with the insouciant cool of a big, pulsing club tune; but while ‘Calion’ entrances with intimations of an esoteric sublime, it’s also more accessible than some of her more eccentric pieces.

Words: Maria Sledmere

100 Fables – ‘We Are Electric Girls and Boys’

With radio air play and superlatives flashing in all directions at the rebellious and exciting new indie electro punk darlings 100 Fables it is clear to see why the young Glasgow quartet has been receiving so much flushing adulation, which has extended way past the local scene and into a national stratosphere.

Having already laid waste to the likes of Belladrum and Isle of Wight Festival, 100 Fables kick off 2018 with this dangerously voyeuristic and sexy slice of new wave punk delight in latest single ‘We Are Electric Girls and Boys’.

Seeped in a caffeinated and luxuriously rich undertone of dirty electro beats, vocalist Lynsey Liora pierces through the discord with deliciously accrued harmonies, which reminisce of Karen O in the heart of a filthy neon Brooklyn dance floor in the late 80s, it’s really quite wonderful.

Words: Chris Kelman

Lux Anima – ‘Riverslides’ [ft. Emma Gillespie]

‘Riverslides’ acts as the debut release by Lux Anima, in what settles perfectly in the wake of earlier iterations of bands that have come before with what I can only describe as neo-lounge.

With a familiar energy, in the same field as the likes of Chet Faker, Ecuador and Zero 7, this lush and warm production pivots between width and intimacy across its short but perfectly formed three-and-a-half minutes, with a distinct vocal that teases you in from the opening bars, conjuring a smoke filled lounge, which are then complimented in the hook laden chorus harmonies by Glasgow’s Emma Gillespie, of Emma’s Imagination.

The project of Glasgow duo Tom Sagar and Thomas Brumby provides a fresh and welcome sparring between the legacy of French lounge and contemporary ballad pop, all while providing a dark edge that is deftly exposed via mix choices; a piano element on the chorus slightly more upfront in the mix than the vocals or the refrain back from the crescendo to something narrower and more defined.

A wonderful mix of styles, textures and a great example of a voice as an instrument, ‘Riverslides’ is a great sign of things to come from Glasgow’s Lux Anima, one that you should be sure to follow for what comes next.

Words: Krist McKenna

Walt Disco – ‘Dream Girl #2’ [Public]

Dandified and transfixing, the jangly guitars and galvanising 1980s sound of Glasgow outfit Walt Disco are a welcome ragtime appearance on the Scottish music scene.

New single ‘Dream Girl #2’ is a romantic cadence to androgyny itself, if not a specific person at its core.

Even its title leans away from the traditional idyllic first-choice love interest towards someone whose supposed imperfections are what makes them so captivating.

It doesn’t matter how short your hair”, croons frontman and bassist James Potter, riding the new wave style befitting of Canadian 1980s synthpop outfit Men Without Hats.

Already championed by BBC Scotland’s Vic Galloway, Walt Disco are proving themselves as stylish, multi-instrumentalist and firmly contemporary, standing the shaggy five-piece in good stead for the release of their debut EP.

Words: Stephen Watt

Martha Ffion – ‘Take Your Name’ [Turnstile]

‘Take Your Name’ is the latest single to be announced from Martha Ffion’s debut LP, Sunday Best.

Beautifully triggered and charmingly executed, capturing a nostalgic and freeing sense of melody – this skilfully catchy track is the epitome of excellence.

A silky-smooth vocal, weaving flawlessly throughout the track – the thin and airy guitars provide depth alongside a gracefully produced bassline, layered with expressive drums.

The simplistic and endearing lyrics captivate the imagination, creating a gentle backdrop of anxious affection and valued hope.

There’s an honest and sentimental importance; a feared desperation – coercing love.

Enticingly indulgent – ‘Take Your Name’ is one for the playlist.

Words: John Houston

LYLO – Post Era [El Rancho]

I’ve been at many a party recently where all fuzzy 4am talk slips into the question of musical era.

It’s been a decade since nu-rave, a decade and more since the thrashing comeback of guitar-led indie; in 2018, there’s a pervasive awareness of how revivalist waves have crashed into a heady blitz of cultural pastiche that’s difficult to divide and sort.

Whether a millennial expression of existential angst or a postmodern gesture of flattened temporal cool, the title for LYLO’s sophomore record, Post Era, neatly captures a musical vertigo that pushes back from the mainstream banalities of retro-culture in favour of playful, intricate takes on electro, psych and ye olde jangly indie classics.

Where LYLO’s 2015 debut, Handsome Living, introduced us to a luminous aesthetic of catchy hooks and gloomy, suburban allure, Post Era is its extroverted cousin: sharper, funkier, stranger—pacing ritzy jazz tracks like ‘Turn My Jacket’ alongside slow-jams like ‘Submerge’.

The overall effect is indulgent, but for once the indulgence feels earned.

Opening track ‘Everything’s Cool’ sparkles into existence from a haze of gold-dripping 80s guitars, shivering snares and synth rumbles, buoying us up on rolling bass and elaborate punches of sax.

Comparisons to The Style Council’s eclectic camp and Talk Talk’s breezy new wave assurance abound, but it’s worth flagging Post Era’s more lo-fi affinities—from Washed Out’s ethereal bedroom atmospherics to voluptuously nostalgic eccojam bass to Com Truise’s starry-eyed synth compositions.

With slightly muted, dreamy production, plenty of space is given to Iain McCall’s luxurious saxophone motifs and Mitch Flynn’s sweetly vaporous vocals.

Smooth riffs on the likes of ‘It’s Good to Know Your Man’ sweep up laidback currents with the baggy psych flair of Pond, while the addition of Niall Morris on synths adds irresistible dream pop layers to the doe-eyed blues that made Handsome Living a winner.

There’s a certain ennui to LYLO’s output, ranging from their debut’s overriding concept of middle-class languor to Post Era’s cultural snapshots of “twisted youth”, where we yearn to be kept “in the hell you design”.

When sung over the snappy, jazz attack rhythms of ‘Turn My Jacket’, however, these reflective lyrics acquire a futuristic urgency that’s deftly reined in by the understated, focused production and radio-friendly song lengths.

Perhaps it’s this restraint that cements the album’s instant pleasure factor, over and above its giddy mix of complex instrumentation.

One thing’s for sure—if the band’s recent sell-out launch at Stereo is anything to go by—Post Era easily translates its latent intensity to the stage, where peachy keen grooves like ‘Yeah Boy’ are brought to life with dark, sophisticated disco vibes—at once the melancholy introvert’s lament and the lounge band’s casual extravagance.

Overall, Post Era is a record that wears its nostalgia lightly, makes alchemy of past styles that glitter with potential—a January standout, certainly.

Words: Maria Sledmere

Inkfields – Beneath The Waves

Edinburgh-based singer/songwriter Sam James-Griffiths, aka Inkfields, has released a melodic and tranquil album in Beneath The Waves, which reflects the journey Griffiths has taken over the past few years; in 2015 he decided to quit his employment to focus on becoming a full-time artist however this process was not short of difficulties.

That said, Griffiths has succeeded in producing an album that mirrors his personal experience in a unique and striking way.

Opening track, ‘The Last Ebb’ experiments with different layers and volumes of synth and drums, creating a hypnotic and spacious start to the album.

Many other tracks follow this structure, such as ‘Gate In The Blue’ and ‘Garden of Delusion’, however they include personal and expressive lyrics, complimenting the dream-like quality of the tracks.

It is easy to notice the experimentation in genre that is included throughout the album as some tracks develop a rock-based sound (‘Snare Yourself’, ‘Dream Catcher’) and others present a more pop/disco-influenced sound ( ‘Nights Like These’, ‘Black Sails’).

This range shows Griffiths’ ability to produce an eclectic album, which does not confine itself to one genre but instead ensures the album remains fresh and exciting.

The lyrical content of the album tells the story of the singer’s personal experience of becoming a committed artist, however the lyrics remain abstract and subtle, a perfect compliment to the strength of the musical content of the album.

Beneath The Waves includes a great variety of strong and emotionally powerful tracks, which will deserve to receive a great deal of well-deserved praise from a wide audience.

Words: Orla Brady

The Spook School – ‘Body’ [Alcopop]

The Spook School is a fun/lively Glasgow indie/punk band who sing of gender identity, sexuality and mental health in a positive an optimistic manner.

‘Body’ is the latest track from their third album, Could It Be Different?, and continues their theme of discussing important issues and finding positivity in the face of adversity.

This time the subject is body dysphoria and body acceptance – an issue that most people can relate to.

Vocalist Nye Todd said of how the track’s lyrics originated: “With ‘Body’ specifically, I wrote it from a kind of positive place, in that I’d been exercising lots and was proud of what I’d achieved and how much more capable I felt in my own body, but I was also aware of how much shame, dysphoria and internalised transphobia that I still felt towards myself. I got to wondering if everyone felt that to a certain extent, and that’s where the song lyrics kind of came from.”

The message is positive and a lesson for us all – no matter how we feel we look, love what your body can do.

All delivered with jangly guitars, lively rhythms and fun harmonies, they sound assured and confident.

2018 will be a good year for The Spook School.

Words: Derek McCutcheon