Album review Scottish albums

Check Masses

Straight outta Leith, Check Masses have an interesting pedigree but let’s just stick to the music here.

Track one “Dripn Angel’s spaghetti western-infused hollers have previously been covered so let us go straight onto ‘The Moon and You’ which is a gorgeous slab of reverberating indie soul, complete with a spoken word interlude – lovely.

‘Moroccan Skies’ starts with a few local sound effects but becomes an immersive dub-driven beast… The lyrics are disquieting, the sounds a bit scary and BM remembers the refrain “Where do you think your head is at?” from their live debut back at the start of this accursed year… too much to smoke maybe?

‘Lost in the City’ has a marvellous reggae-tinged riff and sounds like it is grounded in NYC – very catchy.

There’s another gorgeous slice of nightlife in ‘Unravelled’, a love song with some great vocals and a fantastic melody…

‘Killers’ has a slightly disturbed feel to it, especially given subsequent events this year – but again this is sophisticated indie-funk with some nods to later period Clash (no higher comparison really!) – BM has been relistening to ‘Sandinista’ recently and this could be a missing track from that album…. Killers don’t care what they do”.

The album’s title track is playful, with a nod maybe to Barry Adamson’s more recent stuff – in very good company again, and by the way, most of these tracks are very dancefloor-friendly and demand some further remixes (BM thinks maybe Young Fathers, Chvrches and St Etienne should be allowed to have a go at this one…). Great guitar solo as well!

BM refers you to the excellent ‘Lonesome Little Paradise’s previous review, and moves onto ‘The Sound You Make’, a more acoustic number and sounding a bit like a campfire singalong – infectious!

And closing track ‘Will of God’ returns to the twanged guitars for a rumination on fate, and the eternal battles that everyone faces – quite an anthem for the times…

This album has many surprises, hidden depths and is highly original while also familiar at times, a very difficult trick to pull off and a testament to the combined experience and talents of those who made it.