Tag Archives: Stanley Odd

Stanley Odd – ‘It’s all Gone to Fuck’ [A Modern Way]

Like the character of a contemporary classic, Stanley Odd traverses melodic pages with big boots and something decent to say.

Fuelled with gruff defiance of the status quo it is clear by the complex lyrics that their intellect is sky high and that you’d need to be glued to the telly for days to grasp all the snappy references.

A xylophone that sounds as innocent as a rainbow coloured toy plays to the musing “it’s all gone to Fuck” creating a playful oxymoron.

The irony continues to a welcoming hip-hop beat as Stanley Odd’s gloomy protests are rapped in a light-hearted tone, which makes this song enjoyable.

Stanley Odd’s sense of humour rivals Holden Caulfield but the band’s knuckles are steady and emblazoned with much more conviction.

The songs layout is stimulating both in timing and in tempo particularly when the heavy and distorted chorus forces its way in to declare that the subject is not a laughing matter.

At first it’s empowering and beckons you in, however this chorus continues for too long making it over stated.

In fact the true pleasure of this song is the quick-witted verses and striking delivery of Solareye who creates entertainment at every turn of truth.

Words: Mhairi MacDonald

Stag and Dagger (Part Two), 1/5/16

In the previous coverage of Stag and Dagger our reviewer, Adam Turner-Heffer, spoke of the fun of people’s entirely different experiences of the festival.

Intriguingly enough mine and Adam’s days overlap in only two places, one being rejecting the daunting queue for We Were Promised Jetpacks and the other being the early in the day slot of UNDO.

Still, my day, which for a good portion is spent helping out with flyering for the exciting looking Electric Fields, who today have their own stage upstairs in The Art School, is just as engaging and while I wasn’t particularly enamored by the bigger names on the bill there is still plenty of noteworthy performances.

My day begins at 3pm in the Broadcast basement, well almost, the venue is that mobbed I only manage to catch the end of Lovesick’s from the stairs, still from what I can make out the band possess a real rock ‘n’ roll attitude and their sneery vocals provide an engaging focal point on top of plenty of psychedelic tinged indie rock vibes.

Learning my less from the previous set I get down in plenty of time to see The Ninth Wave, and find myself tightly squeezed in towards the from of the stage.

The band’s melodic guitars and synths refreshingly come off a lot more raucous live than they do on record, as clattering, yet groove infected instrumentals are given a pop edge by Hadyn Park’s distinctive pop rock vocals, which give in to some dream pop tinged harmonies courtesy of Elina Lin.

The Ninth Wave definitely come across at their best when they utilise the male-female vocal dynamic to the max, but this is something that’s an almost ever presents and although the set takes a slight lull for some slower material, they make a big impressive in front of surely the biggest crowd they’ve played to thus far.

Over at the CCA there’s a real hush surrounding Bella and the Bear’s set and the extremely talented duo use this to make their cutting edge lyrics stand out on top of their mellow folk twinkles.

They’re a band that have quite rightly had a lot of praise and I’m ashamed to say this is the very first time I have managed to catch them in a live setting, but I’m sure it won’t be the last as Lauren Gilmour’s voice oozes as much character as it does quality, and their arrangements, which occasionally break out into on the button, yet very Scottish, spoken word, leave a touch of beauty that you don’t often witness at a hectic festival.

Popping up the hill for HÆLOS I am greeted with a set full of soaring cinematic electronic pop, and for a band playing their first ever Scottish show they deliver a set that is as vivid and intriguing and it is euphoric.

The band utilise having two drummers in refreshing way; the two percussionists work off of each other to give a really big and ranged sound, rather than just elevating the volume, which seems to be the result when most acts resort to this tactic.

Still, the band delivers a set that well worth catching, full of interesting pace changes and glitches that emphasise on the soaring potential of it all.

Downstairs in The Art School I witness, what for me is, the set of the day and it comes from Laura St. Jude.

The set begins on a hauntingly powerful note, as a cacophony of sound whirlwinds up to something all the more sombre, as St. Jude’s gentle yet firm vocals possess a certain country quality that all comes with a devastating sense of foreboding that drives the set with gasps that provoke a feel of doomed misery, or even comfort in that same feeling.

The set is honest and unnerving and just draws you in for more; it’s a real testament to St. Jude that she manages to maintain the spotlight even when joined on vocals by guitarist and former Amazing Snakeheads frontman Dale Barclay, and while Barclay’s gruff snarl gives the set another post punk tinged dimension, it acts to build an irresistible chemistry and compliment St. Jude’s angelic delivery rather than outshine it, which I’m sure it would do when paired with many musicians out there.

Bumping into The Ninth Wave and their manager I end up down at the ABC for a short blast of The Lapelles, who possess just the right mix of balls out indie rock attitude and earworm worthy tunes that could see easily see them explode.

The reason it’s only a short burst is that Be Charlotte is due to start any second just round the corner, and the Dundonian youngster kicks of with the flawless accapella intro to recent single ‘Discover’, before a simple yet infectious beat adds a real blast of tantalising energy.

Charlotte is an artist it’s difficult not to pay attention to, her performance and set is so engaging and diverse that it’s hard not to be impressed as she switches from gob smacking vocals to cutting edge spoken word to triple percussion assaults that simply silence the crowd and create an awe filled atmosphere.

There’s so much to this girl’s set, just as you think she’s edged onto something that’s a bit too experimental for the masses she pulls another Radio One banger out the bag and in turn demonstrates she’s got all the chops to get to the very top, but isn’t just a straight up pop singer either.

Over at The Art School Stanley Odd are back after a wee break from gigging and they pick up where they left off with consummate ease; Stanley Odd have for a while been one of the most entertaining live acts in Scotland and tonight is no different as Solareye bops around the stage with a gleeful look on his face delivering that distinctive politically charged hip hop we have become familiar with.

The band moves from driving gltichy electronics to huge beats with soaring chorus’, executed flawlessly by Veronika Electronika, to heartfelt speeches to the most moment catching freestyles imaginable, they even manage to leave everyone talking about them despite leaving their most famous track to date, referendum anthem ‘Son, I Voted Yes’ out of the set instead finishing on a new number, which has the packed room chanting “it’s all gone tae fuck” well beyond the end of the set; only in Scotland would you get this kind of reaction to this kind of new material.

Downstairs and I catch a portion of Smash Williams’ compelling electronics that give way to a snarled yet almost folky vocal from Stuart Dougan, I don’t manage to catch much of them today but, from this glimpse, alongside the splattering of material they have available online and the strong catalogue of bands behind the duo, surely any upcoming release is one to look out for.

Over at CCA and Sheffield’s Slow Club begin on a gentle piano led track that simply allows the beauty of Rebecca Taylor’s voice to soar effortlessly over the room, before engaging with the audience in her thick Yorkshire accent with a warm humour that contrasts their beautiful emotive material refreshingly.

There are moments during the set where the crowd seems stuck to the spot, entranced by Taylor’s immaculate delivery, but it’s credit to the duo’s delightful indie pop dynamic that when Charles Taylor takes lead or indulges in harmonies with Taylor the set is just as engaging.

Slow Club are a band that know exactly how to tug on heartstrings and sound immaculate doing it, but equally know how to reign an audience in with amusing banter, keeping their set light and entertaining; they have a new album out this month and tonight along with the consistency of their last three releases suggest it’ll be one well worth checking out.

Following this set I grab a few drinks and hang around til late on to catch Sweaty Palms in action at Broadcast, no one really remembers what happened in this half an hour, but what they do remember is that it was a riot, a phenomenal riot catalyzed by a band that are destined to make waves much much further than a basement in their hometown.

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Paul Storr

Bella and the Bear, Stanley Odd at CCA, 2/10/15

Their first EP proved to be a splendid mix of soul that gained much acclaim earlier this year; after a summer of memorable performances and a SAMAs best newcomer’s nomination (which they have since won) under their belt Lauren Gilmore and Stuart Ramage take on Bella and the Bear’s next chapter with new EP A Girl Called Bella and also the showcase of their short film to spur on this special time for the duo.

With the doors pushed back the seats fill up quick as 2/6 of hip hop group Stanley Odd open up the night.

With just an acoustic guitar, a fair difference to their usual set up, they start with ‘Chase Yirself’ and already the stripped back performance captivates the audience.

With some banter and stories to tell frontman Solareye (aka Dave Hook) gets a great response from the audience, with his distinctive dialog rapping about people, politics and circumstances that our society know to well.

Assumingly most of the audience they have never seen Stanley Odd perform with this set up, but it goes down great and adds a personal touch to start the night for Bella and the Bear.
The lights dim and for a few seconds we can prepare ourselves for something exceptional.

“Once upon another time, there was a girl. A girl with dark eyes and a brave heart. A girl whose imagination danced. She created a place where dragons were friends and elephants sang her to sleep.”

Gilmore’s voice eases over the sound of the melancholy guitar introducing us to A Girl Called Bella.

A strong narrative with the debut of their new EP they tell the charming tale of Bella and the fairy tale world that she has made her own through the use Bafta award winning Ian Henderson’s vivid and enchanting cinematic piece.

As we see Bella creating, exploring and paying no mind to those around her, Gilmore and Ramage start to introduce us to the sweet sound the EP.

Sitting on the recurring old chic sofa the duo can entrance us with the intricate refined styling of the guitar with raw soulful vocals; they have an authenticity to their sound and mesmerise us with their flawless lyricism.

Once Upon a Time had wholesomeness to it much like Bella’s innocence- but A Girl Called Bella beckons our attention with a poignant sound with more truth and realism to the stories they tell us.

The film grips the audience and is emotional, even if that isn’t the intention.

With the occasional spoken word, Bella and the Bear sing about culture, society, anguish, sanguinity and power as we see a young Bella grow up.

With their story nearing its end, guest performers make a notable appearance before A Girl Called Bella comes to a close.

Visually their film is outstanding; it captivates the vision and imagination with a blatantly strong and sincere performance from both Gilmore and Ramage.

With dangling umbrellas filled with fairy lights above the stage and with a band in tow, Bella and the Bear make their way to the stage to a momentous amount of cheers.

With some older songs like ‘Red Dragon’ and ‘Trapped’ played, we hear them in a way like never before with the band adding an edgier element to the songs we have become so familiar with.

It’s not hard to see the definite bold passion and love the duo share on stage with each other.

The band leave the stage after some songs and we get to experience the familiar intimate and connected set that never becomes old.

A night of buoyant surprises and changes, Gilmore takes to the piano and Ramage showcases his vocal capability unlike any other songs; they have mastered impeccable musicianship skills and with their bond it is all the more enjoyable to watch.

They have so many people to thank, and so much gratitude to everyone who turned up tonight; Lauren Gilmore tells us that a year ago Bella and the Bear did not exist, they had never wrote a song together, and it really comes to light what has happened the last few months as they play the first song they ever wrote together ‘Leave It Out’.

It’s been a whirlwind couple of months full of success so far, but tonight is really just the kick-start of Bella and the Bear’s evidential future triumphs.

With hard work, talent, originality and a real authenticness Bella and the Bear have entered the music world and become irreplaceable in the Scottish scene; expect great things in the next year from Lauren and Stuart.

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Words: Olivia Campbell

West End Festival All Dayer at Oran Mor, 21/6/15

After worrying about whether or not I would be able to see the majority of the great bands playing across Oran Mor’s three stages, I was extremely pleased to see that the running order would allow me to move almost effortlessly between stages, hardly missing a second of each set.

My early arrival gives me plenty of time to soak up the breath-taking interior of the venue’s main auditorium before finding a decent spot in the already packed out room to watch the incredible Kathryn Joseph.

I am lucky enough to have seen Joseph perform two amazing sets at this year’s Wide Days and Xpo North and therefore already know I am in for a treat.

The crowd eagerly await the arrival of this year’s Scottish Album of the Year award winner, who captivates everyone in the room from the moment she steps on stage.

Joseph’s stage presence and musical style fits the venue perfectly, creating a truly enchanting performance.

Hanging on upstairs the hotly anticipated return of De Rosa is next, and after six years absence the return of Martin Henry and co. is one that’s more than welcome and a massive coup for Oran Mor to pull off, on a Father’s Day that sees a heavy amount of dads along for what we have to say is a very ‘dad friendly’ line up.

Still, while the audience makes me feel young I am still old enough to remember De Rosa first time round (unlike my fellow reviewer), their two, Chemy released, albums Mend and Prevention are among the highest regarded by the label and rightfully so as their highly intelligent brand of genre bending indie rock is still as fresh sounding as ever near a decade on.

Today they may be on early on in the day, but the hefty crowd lap up material from their two albums to date and while the band start to hit their, seemingly more refined than ever, stride it becomes clear that we may well be in for a treat with album number three, which is promised later this year.

It is then time to move downstairs to catch Man Of Moon; having heard so much about this band over the last few months I was eager to see them live.

The basement venue is packed and makes me question whether such a new band has ever played to a crowd of this size before, however the size of the crowd doesn’t seem to effect them as they showcase their unique sound and tight live set, making it clear they’re one to watch over the next couple of months.

Remember Remember_WestEndAllDayer_Euan_006

Back upstairs there’s a sense of a spark in the air, this is the moment the a lot of today’s crowd are here for; just this moment – the last Remember Remember show, and the mix of joy, filled with loss is quickly turned on its head by the band’s shimmering performance.

Graeme Ronald has been a hive of activity in Glasgow’s music scene for years, flitting between bands honing his trade, but RR always seems to be the culmination of that; their expansive arrangements don’t have you shoegazing like so many instrumental Glasgow bands would, instead they have you looking to the skies, or in this case the beautiful Alasdair Gray mural, as they twinkle and spark with unletting joy.

There’s a knowing smile on the band’s faces too, Ronald is entering a different chapter of his life; recently married, child on the way and a move to America imminent, so perhaps this is the best time to call it a day.

Whether it’s failing to bust a glitter gun of flinging cardboard boxes that spell out the band’s name into the audience, they seem at a real ease and as the crowd collect the boxes and spell out the name back to them it’s just a sheer delight to be here; Remember Remeember it’s been a please to have you.

Moving downstairs again we move ever so slightly away from the dad heavy set, although it can’t be argued that the charms of Tuff Love don’t extend over multiple age brackets.

I’ve made it consistently well known that I think these guys are great, their warm, fussy 90s vibing indie pop is a joy to behold both live and on record; the sweet harmonies and cheerful bounce of their tunes never fails to drag a smile onto your face.

Today is maybe lost a bit in downstairs chatter, but as Suse attempts to construct the most pathetic wall of death ever seen, it appears they’re taking everything in good heart; these guys’ trajectory is only elevating, we can only wait in anticipation of what they do next, I’m sure it’ll be a joy.

After both of us sadly failing to catch Hubby, next up is Edinburgh’s Stanley Odd, who make sure everyone in the room is having fun from the off.

They treat the crowd to a number of both old and new tracks including the upbeat ‘Chase Yirself’ and slower new single ‘Monsoon Season’ before ending with crowd pleaser ‘Son, I Voted Yes’.

The band are keen to get everyone moving, cheering and singing along and the crowd are more than happy to oblige making Stanley Odd’s set extremely entertaining to watch; made only better by Solareye’s fantastically chirpy stage presence and Veronika Electonika’s stunning vocals.

Stanley Odd_WestEndAllDayer_Euan_001

I head back upstairs to catch We Were Promised Jetpacks’ ‘relaxed’ set, featuring a number of less often played live tracks including a number of b-sides.

Even though it is nice to see another side to Jetpacks, tonight doesn’t seem to quite work when compared to their normally riotous live set; they seem to be lacking the energy they usually possess and are a sobering come down after Stanley Odd’s adrenaline filled sing-along.

By this point in the day things seem to be lingering, a huge crowd is gathered downstairs for Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat, but finding a comfortable spot to watch Moffat’s legendary tales becomes difficult and the beauty of Wells’ arrangements become somewhat lost at the back of the room.

Upstairs it’s a similar scenario for The Phantom Band, the band who are generally a formidable and inspiring live experience seem to be grasping at nothing when trying to draw a reaction from a beer weary Sunday evening crowd, and despite Rick Anthony’s best efforts their set fades somewhat in comparison to those earlier performances.

All in all though another successful West End Festival All Dayer from Oran Mor cementing itself as one of the centrepieces of the whole festival.

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Words: Jess Lavin/Iain Dawson
Photos: Euan Robertson/Stewart Fullerton

ravechild meets Stanley Odd

Stanley Odd are potentially the most refreshing and unique band currently active in Scotland, but the musicians behind the group remain as humble in person and genuine as they are excitingly original in their art.

The band has already soundchecked by the time I arrive at The Garage, the well-known Glasgow venue where they will soon be ending their final tour of 2014, so I head straight in.

It’s a bleak winter’s night, but the cold of the rain-washed street outside is in stark contrast with the warm welcome I receive in the crowded backstage band room.

Though the group seems to have misplaced their drummer (I’m later led to believe that he may be hiding in the toilet) the band members who are present seem to be in high spirits.

Solareye, Stanley Odd’s MC, is comfortably ensconced in the middle of the group, feet up on a low table between stacked vinyl copies of their new album and a bottle of Jack Daniels.

With the other four members (not including the absentee drummer) comfortably seated in a rough semi-circle around the table, I turn on the microphone.

How’s everyone feeling for the gig tonight?

Solareye: Yeah man we’re looking forward to it. It’s the last gig of the tour, last gig of the year. We’re looking forward to it; it’s been a good year.

Veronika Electronika: Glasgow audiences are always pretty rowdy, always quite up for it, so we’ll be going out with a bang.

How long have you been on this tour for, and where have you played?

Solareye: We’ve played Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen, London, Birmingham and Glasgow.

You’ve played so many different venues, from Glasgow to America and beyond, but are there any one venue that sticks out in your memory?

T LO: The beach in Malawi was pretty good.

Solareye: Oh yeah, so we played in front of 4 000 Malawians at ten o’clock on a Saturday night on a beach. That was pretty amazing, and it was a hell of gig. We didn’t really know what to expect. We flew from Edinburgh to Heathrow, Heathrow to Nairobi, Nairobi to Lilongwe and then got a kind of rickety old bus, which drove us four or five hours or something…

Veronika Electronika: In the heat, with no air conditioning.

Solareye: And then very suddenly we appeared in this paradise. Interestingly, I would say tempo-wise the acts we were seeing on before us were either half time or double time to what we would be so it meant the crowd moved in a certain way. I was wondering if we were slap bang in the middle of that tempo, but they jumped up and down and they got involved, which is great. In fact, the fact that we’d already played with some of the acts over here at Glasgow Green meant it was really nice – we already had a bit of a connection there, and we did some collaborations on stage and stuff, which was good.

Going back to the beginning, you guys formed in 2009 in Edinburgh, so what was the Edinburgh scene like for you guys, when you were just starting out?

Solareye: Very energetic, I think the scene was then, very vibrant, at that point. Before we joined this band we kind of knew each other musically from other bits and pieces and sharing bills and I think definitely there was that kind of melting pot going on in the scene at the time.

You said you were all in different bands, but you were all working in hip-hop when you first met, were you?

Solareye: Yeah originally it was just me and Samson – the drummer who hates to do interviews; he’s conspicuous by his absence…

Veronika Electronika: He’s probably hiding in the toilet right now.

How much do you think that mixture of different influences contributed to the sound you have now?

Solareye: Oh yeah, totally. We started doing this thing called The Odd Tune on a Friday, where we do a playlist on and everyone has to pick four tunes that they’ve been listening to each week. It’s mental to see the songs people are picking. You get such a bizarre range of tunes, and then we try and guess who picked which songs.

Veronika Electronika: The most obvious is T LO’s crazy, hard German songs; the noisy ones that I skip past.

Since you started out in Edinburgh you travelled pretty far from home – in fact, you’ve played some pretty prestigious venues in America, how did that come about?

Solareye: Oh it was amazing actually. First of all we won the Nordoff Robbins Tartan Clef Big Apple Award here, playing in this venue, which was part of Scottish Music Awards. So, we won that and as part of that we got to go and play a gig during Scotland Week in the Bowery Ballroom. So, we got to go and do that, and we once we got that we were like, “we’re going to be here for the week, let’s do as much as we can.”

The View were very good to us actually and said that we could join them on the dates that they were playing there so we ended up playing venues that really, for our first time in the States, we shouldn’t have been. We played in Boston, we played the Mitten Factory, Webster Hall, we played outside in Central Park. In the end I think we did six gigs in six days, and it was brilliant.

It’s quite a scary thing to go to the home of hip-hop and play hip-hop, you know? But the response was brilliant – such a positive response.

So much of your music is defined by the fact that you’re Scottish – it’s the culture, the politics and the language of Scotland that infuses most of your work, so how well do you think it worked for an American audience? Do you think some of it went over their heads?

Solareye: They probably didn’t quite get it to the same degree – not ever single reference – but I think any kind of hip-hop has always been about telling stories about where you’re from, and the social references. It’s basically just like folk music in that the music is a vehicle to tell a story, and I think people got into that. You can appreciate west coast American hip-hop without living there – it’s just about telling stories.

The lyrics within your material are brilliant, and probably the first thing you notice about your music, but the instrumentation is also strikingly well done and perfectly arranged – what’s the process by which the instrumentation comes together?

Solareye: Yeah it’s a fucking long process! What’s cool is if you look at all the album credits you’ll see different names on every song, because everybody basically goes away, comes up with wee ideas, and then we go into the studio and work them into a structure. Then we’ll go in and record them and then somebody – it could be any number of people – will chop it and butcher it to hell, into something else.

Veronika Electronika: Usually we come up with a nice sounding song and then we’re like, “nah, it’s too nice!” so we take it away and dirty it up.

Solareye: It feels like a nice way to work, but it is quite lengthy, and it means that when you’re finished the record, you then have to go away and play it again. We did more rehearsals for this tour than we’ve ever done before.

How much does a song change, between your initial vision or idea and the final recorded track?

Solareye: Beyond belief.

Veronika Electronika: I think the most significant was ‘Knock Knock’ – originally it was going to be called ‘Skyscraper’, but then Sam Baily on X Factor did the song ‘Skyscraper’ so we were like “we can’t do that.”

Solareye: It’s had whole different bunches of songs imprinted on it. There are songs that started out with acoustic guitar demos recorded into an iPhone. Then ‘Pastime’ was one that went in reverse. It was put together like a typical hip-hop track, and then we took those parts and played them as a blues guitar lick – it kind of went the opposite way from usual.

Veronika Electronika: The journey of one of our songs is quite reflective of our journey as a band. If you take one of our songs, how it starts out is nothing like it ends up. In the same way on our records you can hear the progression. How we were on our first album is just nothing like how we are now.

How does it feel going back to that early material, listening to the first album again now?

Veronika Electronika: It wasn’t really us; I think listening back it’s very clear that we were still finding our feet a little bit. I’d love to go back to the first record and put our spin on it now. I think there was a lot of really good potential. In some ways I think those could almost just be the demo tracks.

Solareye: We still play a couple of them, but they don’t really sound like the records. The live versions sound different, very different.

You’ve played so many different kinds of venues, from tiny sweatboxes to open air stages at festivals. You even played the Hydro recently for Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP event there: how did it feel to be a part of that event?

Solareye: Oh that was amazing. To get asked to play that was quite surprising. It was a bit of a shock; we weren’t expecting it. It was the day after we had a gig in Edinburgh, so we’d normally have been lying in the dirt somewhere, but instead we had to make our way to the Hydro.

Veronika Electronika: It meant we were all very well behaved the night before.

Solareye: Got a cuddle off the First Minster.

And she said that your song ‘Son, I Voted Yes’ was a personal favourite of hers.

Solareye: Yes, that was lovely. It was great to meet her, and considering that the content of some of our songs… Like, to hear the First Minister say that her prime focus was Social Justice, something we’ve written about, and then get asked to come and play there… I guess we did nail our colours to the mast when it came to the referendum.

Not to get too off topic from the music, but what did the Referendum mean to you guys personally? It’s obviously been an element in quite a few of your songs.

Solareye: I thought that this year was one of the most exciting times ever to be a human being in Scotland. It was amazing to see the whole country so politicised, to see such positive discussions going on regardless of what people ended up voting, talking about how things affected communities, addressing inequality… It was brilliant. From that perspective I think it was a brilliant thing, regardless of the outcome of the actual vote itself. I suppose time will tell what happens next.

T LO: When I first came to Scotland, it felt like nobody was interested in politics. I think, growing up in Germany, because of the past there’s a much bigger political engagement. You know, you demonstrate at school and whatever, but I never really found that here. I guess only this year I really realised that the main reason’s not that people don’t care, but that people don’t feel they have a voice. I was really proud to live in Scotland and see people so engaged.

Solareye: I think the 80s were a very politically active time, and it did feel like people stepped away from that a bit over the years. It’s good to see toilet wall graffiti containing political commentary again.

Well going back to the matter at hand, tonight’s show’s in support of your latest album, A Thing Brand New. How long did it take you to record all the material here?

Solareye: Overall it took about a year and a half. We got started the day after the Scottish Album of the Year awards, in June 2013. It’s funny; I think a lot of the songs that initially got written for it never made it onto the record in the end. We released an EP earlier on in the year, which, looking back, is a bit bizarre, but I think we just wanted to get something out earlier on. But yeah, it’s taken quite a while but I think it’s probably the happiest we’ve ever been with a record, from the music right through to the cover art.

Speaking of cover art, what’s the story behind the imagery here?

Solareye: Well the story is… The lyric “a thing brand new” is taken from a Loudon Wainwright III song from 1971 that goes “be careful there’s a baby in the house, and a baby will not fooled, it’s a thing brand new, does what it wants ’til you get it schooled”. I thought it was a nice concept of conformity and about wains, and for us it’s a brand new album, a brand new way of looking at things, brand new human beings, all sorts of stuff. So we wanted an album cover that had a kid in it who was pretty much of an age when he could be simultaneously looking like he was a bit world-weary but that he was astounded by what was going on about him.

AdMac: It’s actually my wee nephew, though he doesn’t really dress like that normally. He was game to get his photo taken, so that just kind of filled the bill.

Did he actually have a butterfly in his hand when you took the shot?

Solareye: No that was just good photo editing.

Veronika Electronika: I’m glad you had to ask though.

Well lastly, you’re just about the play the last gig of this tour, your last gig of 2014. So what’s next, what’s planned for next year?

Solareye: We’ve actually just had a chat about this. I think next year, in the first half of the year, we’re going to do basically a sweatbox tour. Like, a tour of wee venues around the country, just to get out and play. That’ll be Scotland and the rest of the UK, and we’ll hopefully have a few things lined up in Europe. We’ve started to get some festival dates in as well, and then hopefully a big hoorah in central Scotland towards the end of the year. The live stuff is really looking to shape up for the New Year. In terms of recording I don’t know, we’ve not even spoken about that yet.

AdMac: Yeah if we start recording now we might even get something out in time for 2016.

Solareye: Yeah, as far as recording goes we’ll have to wait and see.

Words: Malcolm Higgins

Album of 2014

Andrew Person & Lovers Turn To Monsters – Everything We Miss17 Andrew Pearson & Lovers Turn To Monsters – Everything We Miss [Common]

A combination of two endearing singer-songwriters, brought together under the umbrella of Common Records in the dismal Glaswegian rain, resulting in an equally endearing collection of tracks. Taking a song each throughout the track listing, the single ‘Juan Antonio’ is a standout track in an octet of tracks that will coax out a tear if you let them. (Kyle McCormick)

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Fat-Suit – Jugaad17 Fat-Suit – Jugaad [Equinox]

With a 15 strong collective of highly trained musicians, in the later part of 2014 Fat-Suit released an instrumental album of innumerable sounds and styles all expertly welded together. Tight grooves splashed with influences from traditional Scottish music and a heavy emphasis on jazz and experimenting ensures that Jugaad is a big, unique flag planted firmly in a Scottish music scene which is very lucky to have Fat-Suit in its midst. (Greg Murray)

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National Jazz Trio of Scotland – Standards Volume III17 National Jazz Trio of Scotland – Standards: Volume III [Karoke Kalk]

Bill Wells has made his name by his collaborations and his experimentations, which often take him to pry the envelope of pop music to great result, at first, Standards: Volume III could appear to be a glossy but unwavering pop album, but upon repeated listens this record is a richly endearing effort for fans and casual listeners alike.

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The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads17 The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads [Domino]

Amphetamine Ballads does take some warming to, but after a number of listens and a full appreciation of its delightfully refined latter half, this album is undoubtedly one to be treasured if it appeals to your sense of artistry.

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Withered Hand – New Gods15 Withered Hand – New Gods [Fortuna Pop]

New Gods might at first fool you as sounding like inoffensive dentist-waiting-room shmooth-fm folk-pop; clean but still sensibly naturalistic production, tons of hooks, catchy choruses, acoustic guitars and simple song structures; yet lurking in the lyrics there’s an extremity of emotional tension that swings between stark ugly introspection on one hand and manic optimism on the other.

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Andrew Montgomery – Ruled By Dreams15 Andrew Montgomery – Ruled By Dreams

Former Geneva vocalist Andrew Montgomery went solo with Ruled By Dreams, and has successfully created an album that showcases his writing strengths, both musically and lyrically.

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Thin Privilege - Thin Privilege12 Thin Privilege – Thin Privilege [Struggletown]

For me, Thin Privilege is the band of 2014. With their intense live show alienating crowds’ left, right and centre, I had very high hopes for this record and was not disappointed. This noisy, duel bass assault of an album really grasps the energy of what this very short-lived band was. (Iain Gillon)

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Jonnie Common – Trapped In Amber12 Jonnie Common – Trapped In Amber [Song, by Toad]

Bizarre in all the right places, in all the right ways, Trapped In Amber is perhaps best described as “bizarre pop” as a direct consequence. Pleasingly simple soundscapes provide the backdrop to lyrics that span the board from drama to comedy, with hints of balladry (‘Fractal’), hip-hop (‘Crumbs’) and amazement (‘Binary 101’) all contributing to a record of abundant imagination. (Kyle McCormick)

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Young Fathers – Dead12 Young Fathers – Dead [Anticon/Big Dada]

2014 was Young Fathers’ year, taking home award after award with critical acclaim following them at every turn. Dead was the centre piece of it all, an intoxicating multicultural record that took elements of hip-hop, electronica and pop and put Scottish music firmly back on the musical map.

Rustie – Green Language11 Rustie – Green Language [Warp]

Rustie deserves every single bit of credit that comes his way, while fellow Glaswegian label mate Hudson Mohawke jets off with the glamorous names, Rustie has stuck to his guns and make a record that feels like natural progression. Green Language has all of Rustie’s punch and some very special moments, still we can’t help feel his best is yet to come and we can’t wait.

Beerjacket – Darling Darkness10 Beerjacket – Darling Darkness

Darling Darkness makes for a relaxing listen, but there’s more to it. There’s a depth and texture that goes beyond your ordinary singer songwriter. To mark 10 years of Beerjacket, Peter Kelly has released a beautiful, cosy, folk masterpiece. (Alisa Wylie)

The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave8 The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave [FatCat]

One of the years later releases but well worth the wait, aside from their debut it could be their best yet. The production values like always are superb and the songs reek of melancholic angst and pain just what you’d expect from Scotland’s gloomiest export. The album deserves all the praise it gets. (Phil Allen)

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Mogwai – Rave Tapes8 Mogwai – Rave Tapes [Rock Action]

A lush set of songs that breathe a warm melancholia; flourishes of ambient and electro sounds underpinned by one of the great guitar arsenals in all of music. (Brendan Sloan)

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Stanley Odd – A Thing Brand New7 Stanley Odd – A Thing Brand New [A Modern Way]

The Edinburgh sextet’s third album sees them at their creative best, with their usual concoctions of politics, pop culture and poetry shifted into the next razor sharp gear. Tackling issues of parenthood and imperialism, likely catalysed by recent arrivals and national political awakenings, among other things, A Thing Brand New is thought-provoking and head-nodding perfection. (Kyle McCormick)

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Fatherson – I Am An Island6 Fatherson – I Am An Island [A Modern Way]

Incredible, conceptual debut from a band that looks set to take off in a big way in 2015. Sounds absolutely massive. (Alisa Wylie)

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PAWS – Youth Culture Forever4 PAWS – Youth Culture Forever [FatCat]

Youth Culture Forever might be the perfect follow up to Cokefloat! It takes its predecessors themes and then follows up on them, while also covering some new ground; plus the production is a serious step up and it shows. (Phil Allen)

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Deathcats – All Hail Deathcats4 Deathcats– All Hail Deathcats [Fuzzkill]

I never thought Deathcats would get a full LP release, 2014 truly was a brilliant year for Scottish music. From the get go Deathcats display a penchant for crafting some of the most infuriatingly brilliant melodies in recent memory. Aside from this it’s great to see the band really test their limits and put some of their live show into the record with the great linking sections between songs. (Phil Allen)

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Algernon Doll – Omphalic3 Algernon Doll – Omphalic [Struggletown]

Emo/alt-rock is a genre I that I don’t often indulge in anymore but every so often something pops up which shakes me from that angsty slumber and reminds me that it’s still possible to create original and awesome sounding music in that style. Ewan Grant’s Algernon Doll and their album Omphalic is the perfect example of this, and legendary producer Steve Albini will no doubt help them carry their momentum into next year, with their fourth release in as many years. (Greg Murray)

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King Creosote – From Scotland With Love2 King Creosote – From Scotland With Love [Domino]

A stirring celebration of Scottish pride and resolve; a profoundly evocative album, which handles its subject matter with gentle reverence. This record is nothing less than a masterpiece, and its release saw it receive the critical acclaim that it rightly deserves. The album provided an evocative accompaniment to Virginia Heath’s documentary of the same title, although despite its status as a soundtrack, it is a piece of art in its own right (Brendan Sloan/Ellen Renton)

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Honeyblood – Honeyblood1 Honeyblood – Honeyblood [FatCat]

Glaswegian duo Honeyblood’s self-titled debut unleashes a wave of emotionally aggressive lyrics mixed with sweet melodies and harmonies reminiscent 90s grunge and fitting to their name. The band’s stripped back and minimal setup is compelling, allowing vocalist Stina Tweeddale to showcase her enchanting voice. (Jess Lavin)

[review]

Tracks of 2014

Atom Tree – ‘Sinner’19 Atom Tree – ‘Sinner’ [Hotgem]

The opening track of the Glasgow electronic trio’s latest EP, Clouds, introduced us to vocalist Julie Knox, who’s powerful and emotive voice slides brilliantly into Atom Tree’s deep synthpop, alerting people the trio on a much bigger scale than before, and rightfully so.

Call To Mind – ‘Breathe’19 Call To Mind – ‘Breathe’ [Olive Grove]

Beautiful and euphoric, Call To Mind’s musical masterpiece is the crowning jewel of their debut album, and with accenting piano and sultry vocals, it is everything that Coldplay think they are, but infinitely better. (Kyle McCormick)

The Duke, Detriot – ‘Accerate’19 The Duke, Detroit – ‘Accelerate’ [Deaf By Stereo]

The Duke, Detroit’s sleek and stylish single threw us, spinning and stumbling back in time to the mid-80s, but they managed to bring it back to life without sounding like poor mimics of the past.

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Owl John__Frightened_Rabbit_Side__Project-750x018 Owl John – ‘Los Angeles, Be Kind’ [Atlantic]

Drawing from Scott Hutchison’s emigration to California, the video starts with footage of Scotland, which slowly blends into the bright, optimistic lights of L.A, and probably says more of this achingly melancholy song than a simple review could. (Greg Murray)

Hudson Mohawke – ‘Chimes’16 Hudson Mohawke – ‘Chimes’ [Warp]

HuMo keeps getting bigger and bigger and with a glorious homecoming at East End Social’s Last Big Weekend and this release on Warp it seems his momentum is still building.

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Mogwai-Rave-Tapes-608x60816 Mogwai – ‘Remurdered’ [Rock Action]

2014 saw Glasgow’s post rock behemoths shift away their meatier riffage of recent years and move towards a chilling atmospheric vive, they’re still loud though and the asphyxiating ‘Remurdered’ is one of the best examples of their recent work.

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Vasa – ‘Not A Cop’13 Vasa – ‘Not A Cop’

Intricate and captivating, Vasa’s stand-alone single has an unrelenting urgency at its core, but with layers of percussion and masterful guitars cleverly bolted on, ‘Not A Cop’ shines a light on a promising future. (Kyle McCormick)

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The Twilight Sad – ‘Last January’13 The Twilight Sad – ‘Last January’ [FatCat]

Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave was heralded as a return to form for one of Scotland’s most powerful yet emotionally draining live acts and ‘Last January’ was the pick of bunch.

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Jonnie Common – ‘Shark’13 Jonnie Common – ‘Shark’ [Song, By Toad]

Burning slowly, ‘Shark’ sees Jonnie Common’s songwriting at a conversational high, built on a foundation of electronics and ingenuity, the canned laughter at the end knows how good it is. (Kyle McCormick)

PAWS – ‘Owl Talons Clenching My Heart’12 PAWS – ‘Owls Talons Clenching My Heart’ [FatCat]

A prime example of PAWS expanded song writing, the cello-laced ‘Owls Talons Clenching My Heart’ pulses solidly along on to Phillip Taylor’s stories of heartache. (Greg Murray)

King Creosote – ‘Something To Believe In’10 King Creosote – ‘Something To Believe In’ [Domino]

The pinnacle of the From Scotland with Love record (no mean feat), ‘Something To Believe In’ combines true and traditional folk with honest lyrics and a painful poignancy. (Ellen Renton)

Skinny Dipper – ‘Hospital Bed’10 Skinny Dipper – ‘Hospital Bed’ [Olive Grove]

Haunting and heart breaking, ‘Hospital Bed’ might just be one of the most beautiful vocals of the year, never mind just in Scotland. (Ellen Renton)

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TeenCanteen – ‘You’re Still Mine’9 TeenCanteen – ‘You’re Still Mine’ [S.W.A.L.K]

Sickly sweet vocals and throbbing synths add playful finger-clicking and loving harmonies to make TeenCanteen’s single a loveable release and introduction to the gifted quartet. (Kyle McCormick)

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Owl John__Frightened_Rabbit_Side__Project-750x08 Owl John – ‘Hate Music’ [Atlantic]

‘Hate Music’ is a cathartic, slide-guitar-and-overdrive pedaled song, which Scott Hutchison claims Frightened Rabbit wouldn’t get away with, about the strains and the bitter tastes left by his revered band and the industry they operated in consistently for ten years. (Greg Murray)

John Knox Sex Club – ‘Minotaur’7 John Knox Sex Club – ‘Minotaur’ [Instinctive Racoon]

Primal and raucous, John Knox Sex Club captures everything they are infamous for in this track, with measured execution descending into enjoyable chaos. (Kyle McCormick)

Tijuana Bibles-500x3726 Tijuana Bibles – ‘Crucifixion’ [Dead Beet]

Tijuana Bibles continue to prove that few bands can write snarling rock classics as well as them. ‘Crucifixion’ has a southern rock swagger that you can’t help bob your head along to, the chorus hook is sublime and the guitar solo is a piece of melodic genius. (Phil Allen)

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Tuff Love – ‘Sweet Discontent’5 Tuff Love – ‘Sweet Discontent’ [Lost Map]

This track was almost everyone’s first introduction to Tuff Love and we immediately fell for the vocal harmonies and that breakneck drumming. It’s no wonder this track garnered them a lot of attention it sounds like effortless genius in the form of a song. (Phil Allen)

Deathcats – ‘Saturday Night Golden Retriever’4 Deathcats – ‘Saturday Night Golden Retriever’ [Fuzzkill]

Sure the bassline sounds like Black Flag but what an intro. Taken from the bands only debut, and looking likely to be only, length album this cut is perhaps one of their most exciting punk throw downs, however it’s given Deathcats patented surf rock treatment with plenty of great backing vocals. (Phil Allen)

Stanley Odd – ‘Son, I Voted Yes’3 Stanley Odd – ‘Son, I Voted Yes’ [A Modern Way]

Stanley Odd’s endearing referendum anthem is made bittersweet given the eventual outcome, but its message of hope and positivity still rings true in a country forging towards a better future. (Kyle McCormick)

unknown2 APACHE DARLING – ‘More Than Me’

The comparisons to CHVRCHES must get tiresome, but one thing that APACHE DARLING does share with the band is their potential for success. ‘More Than Me’ is cool, catchy and clever, and undoubtedly one of Glasgow’s best exports of 2014. (Ellen Renton)

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Honeyblood – ‘Killer Bangs’1 Honeyblood – ‘Killer Bangs’ [FatCat]

Sweet melodies and some of the crunchiest guitars recorded are staples of ‘Killer Bangs’. It’s hard to believe a two-piece can sound this massive even if it is a studio recording. (Phil Allen)

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Stanley Odd, Loki at the Garage, 13/12/14

Though the G2 is a relatively small venue, the intimate environment is absolutely ideal for Stanley Odd, the six-piece hip-hop powerhouse, whose headline show tonight marks the end of a successful tour and a remarkable year.

Appearing in support of their most recent album, A Thing Brand New, the band fuse a variety of musical styles together to create a unique and exhilaratingly original sound, the musician’s instrumental skills being complimented perfectly by the tremendous lyrical prowess of frontman MC Solareye.

Before they take to the stage, however, Glasgow rapper Loki delivers a well-received warm-up set, joined himself by singer Becci Wallace on guitar and vocals.

Loki is a long-established veteran of the Glasgow music scene, having won continuous accolades throughout his long and varied rapping career, but tonight the volume of the audience, combined with less-than-ideal sound mixing, interferes somewhat with the clarity of his performance.

For an artist like Loki, it’s important that his extremely well-crafted lyrics are audible, but though this proves something of a hindrance tonight, he himself remains unfazed by the noise levels and still manages to deliver a charismatic and intriguing performance, the song ‘Best Friends’ proving to be a particular highlight.

Solareye is the first on stage after Loki, rapping alone as one by one the other musicians appear behind him, the full band suddenly exploding into life on the first chorus of set-opener ‘Get Back in the Basement’.

Following on with ‘To Be This Good Takes Stages’, it quickly becomes clear that most of tonight’s set will be drawn from the band’s latest album, and with the audience clearly already very familiar with the new material, this seems like an excellent move.

Of those songs selected from A Thing Brand New, both lead single ‘Pastime’ and the haunting ‘Put Your Roots Down’ stand out in particular, the former for the swaggeringly confident vocal delivery and striking use of blues slide-guitar and the latter for its lyrical sensitivity and touching subject matter, the song concerning the moment Solareye found out he was going to be a father.

Another highpoint of the set comes with ‘Son I Voted Yes’, a stirring reflection on the recent Independence debate with a distinctly anthemic quality, made all the more impressive with the entire audience singing passionately along.

When the band do turn their attention to material from the previous albums, however, the audience greet old favourites with roars of approval and set-closer ‘Think of a Number’, originally recorded for 2010’s Oddio, brings the joyous atmosphere to fever-pitch.

In both tonight’s performance and their back-catalogue as a whole, Stanley Odd’s most appealing quality is their ability to face up to the often bleak reality of modern society, while still leaving their audience with a sense of hope, a sense that they themselves can somehow tackle the problems and injustices Solareye’s fiery lyrics are so good at summing up.

This, combined with a wry sense of humour, their refreshingly original instrumentation and Solareye’s brilliant stage presence, makes Stanley Odd one of the most exciting acts currently working in Scotland, not only in their chosen genre but in the country as a whole.

More Photos

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Words: Malcolm Higgins
Photos: Jayjay Robertson

Stanley Odd – A Thing Brand New [A Modern Way]

Edinburgh’s Stanley Odd return with their third studio album, A Thing Brand New, following the success of their debut Reject, which was shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year in 2012.

Opener ‘Get Back In The Basement’ features lots of distortion and effects, easing listeners in before breaking into tremendous chorus with stunning vocals, demonstrating what the band have to offer and leaving you eager for the rest of the album.

‘Who Am I?’ is the first track featuring strong political themes, showing the band’s knowledge about the country’s current state, this theme carries on throughout the album.

‘Pastime’ is one of the album’s highlights with a catchy choral hook, booming bassline and witty lyrics including “I just turned up to a fist-fight with a flamethrower.”

The album offers a mix of social commentary and personal stories demonstrating the band’s skills as musicians and songwriters, each song telling its own story.

The heartfelt and passionate ‘Put Your Roots Down’ demonstrates this storytelling ability, beginning stripped back with only a piano and vocals, that breaks into life when joined by strings and sending shivers down your spine.

Highlight ‘To Be This Good Takes Stages’ gives listeners an overview of the bands experience in the music industry, including their formation and first gigs referring to their story so far as “a Penguin Classic in the making”.

Whereas the thought-provoking ‘Draw Yir Own Conclusion’ tells the story of what growing up in Scotland can be like for some families, the track is more sombre than the rest of the album and extremely powerful.

The album showcases Stanley Odd’s diverse musical range, watching them play with effects and genres to make each track standout from the one before.

This unique range is shown in ‘Knock Knock’, which comes crashing in and is the angriest track on the album while ‘The Walking Dead’ offers a more upbeat and catchy sound.

The album finishes with recent single and viral success ‘Son I Voted Yes’, an insightful track which, for many became the unofficial anthem of the Scottish Referendum.

Written as a message to MC Solareye’s son with thought-provoking lyrics like “you can’t change the world taking no risk at all”.

Stanley Odd have a way of saying what everyone is thinking, but don’t have the guts to say.

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Words: Jess Lavin

Stanley Odd – Chase Yirsel [A Modern Way]

For those not yet in the know Stanley Odd is a witty Edinburgh-based hip-hop crew fronted by the always entertaining MC Solareye and featuring sung vocals from his cohort Veronika Electronika.

After their Scottish Album of the Year nominated sophomore record Reject “sold fifty copies” they’re hoping to sell fifty more of Chase Yirsel, their sharpest and most political release to date.

Their self-deprecating raison d’être may be mixing “Slim Shady with Fake Plastic Trees” but Chase Yirsel manages to be more than that.

Singularly smart and thought provoking, Stanley Odd want to make you think as much as they want to make you dance.

Opener ‘Did Yi Hear’ offers a brief rundown of what they’ve been up to since Reject hit; visiting the original home of hip-hop NYC for their maiden American shows and musing on the changing social landscape of Scotland and how it is reflected in the music industry “CDs in HMV, lifetime ambition achieved, but the death of the high street made it kind of bittersweet”.

These contemplations are backed by bouncy drumbeats and buoyant keyboard chords reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem before a stuttering electronic breakdown that pitches Veronika’s voice through layers of filters.

More than ever Stanley Odd seems unafraid to take on the big issues; this is their most nakedly political statement yet, lambasting the political classes and their cronies in the media, particularly on the devastating letter-to-the-editor ‘Establishment’.

The chorus “this is how it works round here, we can make you disappear…you’ll be first against the wall” evokes a sinister menace that Radiohead would be proud of but it’s Solareye’s flow which is the real hook, taking on the Sunday papers over their suppression of dissent and touching on the importance of artists in social movements.

Title track ‘Chase Yirsel’ has a more upbeat swing, touching once more on public apathy and the upcoming independence referendum but exhorting the listener to “do what you like, like what you do”.

As always with Stanley Odd the laugh quota is high; Solareye is an eminently quotable MC, but here the group use their wits to slip some deeper truths home “if you’re a no show on 18th September then we’ll never know”.

‘Let Ma Brain Breathe’ takes aim at popular music itself and the knee-jerk hype that saw Robin Thicke banned but failed to condemn the likes of Snoop Dogg as well as a liturgy of social sins.

Sharper and more specific than ever, Stanley Odd is a renegade with something to say; just do it; join the Odd Squad.

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Words: Max Sefton