short players (Scottish) Single review

So Many Animal Calls

Every SMAC release is always a very exciting affair. Although they’re few and far between, each song is more accomplished than the last and four-track ‘Burden’ is no different.
This record is a fine example of their expansive style and the smudge of maturity dotted through this EP makes the experience all the more rich.
They may have matured as musicians but the jangling, edgy riffs remain in opening track ‘From the Sick Bed’ and Sean McKenna’s unmistakable, diverse range shines in the quieter parts of the song.
While some may be put off by the Americanised portion of both their lyrics and vocals, I think it lends itself well to their own identity. When the new wave of indie bands started singing in Scottish accents, their detractors were quick to speak out – if anything, SMAC are going against the grain.
‘My Blood’s Not Mine’ is the real stand-out from this EP, since its initial release before the EP launch at the end of May, it’s been stuck in my head for months. This track illustrates their combinational of great technical skill from tracks like ‘Broken Antlers’ and apply it to their innate rock sound in a controlled way.
The penultimate track ‘Chromatography is for Cool Kids’ is another of SMAC’s specialities – a wee haunting ballad. Like ‘Oh Dear’ on their first record ‘Eulogy’, this is quite beautiful and considered but feels a bit out of place on an EP that has a very strong summer vibe to it.
This short and sweet EP ends with ‘Stories’ – a track that puts in to focus the band’s ability to write great music. You want to sing the lyrics back, you want to play every riff drenched in reverb and to try and fail at matching the harmonies after the bridge.
I listened back to their first record after listening to this and it’s pleasing to hear the qualities they’ve harnessed from their first outing – which in its own right is a fantastic EP.
‘Burden’ certainly marks the starting point of So Many Animal Calls’ journey to establishing themselves as one of Scotland’s best alt-rock bands.

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