There are bands who wear their influences on their sleeves. Edinburgh act Book Group however, have their inked solidly and permanently beneath their epidermis.
The full sleeve (metaphorically) is revealed on opening track ‘BOP’ – sounding like a comprehensive trawl through an impressive record collection with Scottish post-punk influences in the vein of Radio Ghosts or FK9 to be heard – though the cheap-sounding keyboard a la Visitors probably coming from a modern digital source. The thrum gives way to a meandering guitar line and lazy vocals with gently accented Scottish burr – it does take several listens for the understated tune to hit home but it is, to coin a cliche, a slow burner and well worth persevering with.
To be fair, the tune, and the vocals, prompting these theories of heritage and plagiarism – is unlikely to come from these rather obscure reference points, which may say more about your reviewer than the band.
In fact, such is the alien nature of music delivery these days – I yearn for the days of wax cylinder – I find that, probably, ‘Year of The Cat’ is actually the lead track. This is again, for me, heavily influenced, though it’s the mix that makes it work… Sonic Youth, Dino Jr, all fine reference points. They maybe share this retro love with The Yawns, another band to bring back memories of those (for myself, at least) good old days.
‘Seedlings’ brings us back across the Atlantic in a sense. C86, the harder end, with hints of the Close Lobsters and the Wedding Present, but happily, they have stamped their own feel on it – jangle streaked with feedback.
What is the final track, we assume – ‘Summer of Lunches’ – offers more slacker fun and games – like a purposeful Pavement with the guitar of J Mascis, only more understated, with a hint of malevolence bubbling underneath the surface.
In all, something of triumph. Especially given that they consist of former members of earnest but workmanlike pop-rock acts the Kays Lavele and Come On Gang. Truly a case of the sum being more than the parts. Unless these guys have nicked their parents’ record collections, we’ll assume that it’s all original, five star stuff. If not – well, who cares?