The Littlest Album has been one of the more interesting ongoing projects in the Scottish music scene. The basic concept is twelve bands, seven inches, one minute each. Over the two preceding volumes it has thrown up some compact gems of brevity and experimentation. In fact, in a number of cases the best thing a band ever did. Tonight is the first leg of the launch for volume three. (Sadly the records haven`t arrived back from the plant, yet.)
First up we get Unknown Forces Of Everyday Life, who unfortunately have the toughest job of the night. First, `they` are one man and a laptop (albeit with added post-rock guitar). This can be one of the toughest things to pull off in the live arena ` especially in a line-up of more traditional bands. Tonight there are flashes of real beauty in what he`s doing, but it just doesn`t seem to grab us he way I should. Although, probably the biggest obstacle for him tonight is a member of one of the other bands deciding to stand in the middle of the room and hold several very loud conversations at the one time over the top of his set. Shame, really.
Apparently, this is Les Enfant Bastard`s first gig. They serve us up a set of minimal (guitar, cello, drums) indie pop gems. Tales of falling for girls on buses and dead pets, delivered with a knowing wit and often killer observations. Occasionally their vocalist slips into caterwauling Neil Young-isms (not, we hope, the desired effect), in time these will iron themselves out. All in, an intriguing and beguiling set that will guarantee that we will be seeking out this lot in the future.
Tonight the problem we`ve been had for quite some time with The Plimptons is writ large. They cram so much parody and unnecessary musical diversions into each song that just when you think you`re getting a grip on something out that grabs your interest; they`re off in some other (wrong) direction like The Baron Knights on tartrazine. Logically, the best thing we`re offered up tonight is the track from the album ` the limited time focussing their concentration and restricting their opportunities to wiz anything resembling a song up against a wall. Heck, bet they crack themselves up though.
If you are not familiar with The Just Joans, then you are in for a treat. Their debut album `Last Tango In Motherwell` is a home recorded classic nestling somewhere between the Magnetic Fields and HMHB, and lurking round underpasses in deepest darkest Lanarkshire. Tonight their usual magical live experience is a little shaky to start with. We get a new song. It`s about drinking cider and having your heart broken. With this lot, you`ll wonder if there`s anything else to life. After which they begin to come together more. So much so that we even get them standing up by the end.
In keeping with the spirit of the project, Catface perform a blink-and-you-miss-it one-minute set. Unfortunately, nature called and I did, erm, blink. Which is a shame, because if the ten second encore is anything to go by, they were jolly good.
Now, if only we could hear the record`