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Frightened Rabbit / We Were Promised Jetpacks / We See Lights

Glasgow Barfly (29th March 08)

By • Apr 26th, 2008 • Category: gig reviews

What indeed is the Sound of Young Scotland? Previously it was all post rock around here, before those mid-Atlantic twangs crept in. Now, rightly, bands are unafraid to sing in their own accents – perhaps even over-accentuating? Musically, too, there’s a sense of history and belonging – via the most obvious, indigenous route, folk rock. Bands are reinventing themselves and perhaps using a Fence blueprint, though in the case of a few acts, it’s our Canadian cousins who supply the inspiration. Broken Social Scene and, crucially, Arcade Fire, seem to loom everywhere – our own Make Model an example of a band who’ve taken that big multi-member sound and adopted it for their own ends.
We See Lights
We See Lights I’m sure haven’t based themselves on Make Model – too close to home, surely? – but the similarities are there to see and hear – massive lineup, ever-present female vocals, at east half the members taking an active part in the songwriting process, and, most noticeably, they’re quite a band of misfits – and I mean that in the nicest possible sense, with indie, folk and more rock-oriented members in the lineup. Happily the results are good and that’s surely what counts, a bunch of rousing singalong anthems are on display. Even when the leather-jacketed singer takes over we have something which is more Justin Currie than anything, but I defy anyone to deny that ‘Nothing Ever Matters’ was a good song, before it all went American AOR. When the other members take over it’s rather closer to the twee stylings of My Latest Model (yes, they were bound to get a mention eventually!)
We Were Promised Jetpacks
We Were Promised Jetpacks might have to leap on the folk bandwagon. For no other reason that their drummer is going away to study in what’s an unfortunate piece of timing as it seems that his band are really hitting their stride – so some sort of acoustic project may be required, though the volume and speed of the rollercoasting set suggest that unplugging this lot might be akin to turning off their life support system. A bunch of new tunes including ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ make for an incendiary set, blasting its way through the packed crowd. ‘Quiet Little Voices’ – a song which in fact has no chorus and works all the better for it – is the set’s closing highlight, but we can’t forget that they have a load of songs tucked away in their ‘back catalogue’ which should make a classic album – when they’re ready.
Frightened RabbitFrightened Rabbit are playing their first Glasgow show since adding in a new guitarist. That’s 3 guitars, no bass, but still the sound of the Selkirk 4-piece (a phrase you don’t hear too often) is meaty and full, and they can now easily add in keyboards and effects as required. Which seems odd as the band, bizarrely, are being lumped into the nu-folk category by some just because of their lack of bass guitar – despite coming from as far from the Highlands as is possible without entering Morris dancing country. The band have also gathered a bit of a barmy army, who doubtless understand the chant of “Eggs” at the start of ‘Music Now’, and who also doubtless are awaiting Midnight Organ Fight’s release eagerly. Now packed, there’s room for the odd punter to start what may be a conga but is more likely to be a Highland Fling. After all, as spearheads of the folk revolution all the bands tonight know their heritage.
more photos from the gig on Flickr

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