Link to home page

Broken Chanter

Broken Chanter (Olive Grove / Last Night From Glasgow)

By • Sep 10th, 2019 • Category: Album review

This is the new album by David MacGregor, of the currently dormant Kid Canaveral, and it is nine tracks of pure musical bliss. It has everything…

Opener ‘Nineteen Ninety-Eight’ has a long run-in, sounds of maybe moving trains (OK, so the press release says they are Japanese trains recorded in situ…), before the band kick in, and what an ensemble this is. MacGregor has recruited some of Scotland’s best musicians for this album, recorded in the Northwest of Ireland and Glasgow last year. On drums, the peerless Audrey Tait, on fiddle and backing vocals the multi-talented Jill O’Sullivan and on guitar ULTRAS mainman Gav Prentice, to name a few. The train sounds fade in again as the band fades out on this instrumental starter.

‘Should We Be Dancing?’ is the second single from this album, and the guitars fairly blast – the lyrics appear to be a series of snapshots of social occasions and angst regarding etiquette, laced with some old-fashioned romantic confliction – some amazing poetic nuggets here: “the sum of this room is more than its walls”…

Next up is first single ‘Wholesale’. The synth parps initially but this soon becomes a Celtic anthem, albeit with some disturbing side-effects (“repetition turns to obsession” is not healthy). “Losing Sight” of what? The after-effects of displacement, emigration maybe…the words are cryptic enough to let people take their own conclusions out of it, all the while there is some great playing here and this stands up with such Scottish indie classics as ‘You Held The World In Your Arms’ and ‘Letter from America’, ok so The Proclaimers were on a major at the time and so were Idlewild in fact, but… ach, splutter, you ken whit ah mean!

‘Don’t Move To Denmark’ has become one of my favourite tracks on this disc, just because of David’s voice on it live – the LP version is embellished by keyboards and other noises but the dilemma is universal – decisions, life-changing potentially… The lines about “what if I disappoint” are crushing and anyone who has lived a life will have been through something like this, whether this one is fictional or not…”what ifs like this keep me up all night…” Also “the brass in my neck made you laugh” is the best fucking lyric you will come across all year!

Track number five is the first of two co-writes with Prentice – ‘Cheering In The Distance’ is another melodic belter, with full-on guitars and violin, with a very sprightly middle eight, great songwriting…

‘Mionagadanan’ is sung in the Gaelic – the title means ‘the atoms/dust seen in a beam of sunlight as it enters a room’ – it is quite beguiling however, whatever the title and words… sung by collaborator Kim Carnie, who did a great job of it live earlier this year. It is beautiful and get that bloody Celtic Connections booking in now, this will go down a treat with the January 2020 audience…

The seventh track ‘Occupy My Hours’ is self-reflective and has some inspired instrumentation, which just shines… and could lift any Bulldog with a headache out of its basket.

‘Beside Ourselves’ is a bit electronic, a bit choppy, and has more wise lyrics. With the indie sensibility in the songwriting, plus a couple of very catchy riffs, this could be the hidden sleeper of the whole album, for BM anyway… intriguing…

Last track ‘Free Psalm’ is reflective, slow to begin, another Prentice co-write, and is a song of encouragement to those who are suffering. It is pretty inspirational and rounds off what is a landmark album. An album where MacGregor lets other influences in, and melds them to achieve his own vision, and his own aesthetic, and his own art.

Leave a Reply