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Album review Scottish albums

Various artists

Living in Scotland it’s sometimes hard to understand the fascination with which others regard the mountains, rivers, forests and coastline. They’re just there – they always have been. What’s the big deal?

The same may be said for the music scene. We take that for granted, too. Perhaps that’s why it has taken the Leeds-based label Art Goes Pop to show the world on our behalf, just what a magnificent selection of quality bands emanate from Glasgow. (Though not all the bands on this compilation come from Glasgow, it would be fair to say that the majority do.)

There are twenty-three tracks on this Compilation, which creates a problem when trying to prepare a brief review! But here goes:

The collection is opened by Isoceleswith their eponymous theme song. Prominent bass lines, memorable soft hooks and handclaps are the order of the day. Hidden Masters offer a bit of a throwback to the psychedelic era whilst incorporating nuances of The Doors. Punch & the Apostles are ones to watch out for. Their unique blend of Romany / bullfight / blues / folk / punk will have many scratching their heads and wondering what all this is about! Sparrow and the Workshop are a female fronted, folk-based three piece that on this track at least, sound like a Scotland’s answer to The Hot Puppies.

A new one on me, The Company Presents Roy Moller is a partnership of Glasgow’s Roy Moller with Stevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian) and Gary Thom (Astrid.) This track is another with a Sixties sound. The Low Miffs have been around a while and have a classic Orange Juice feel about them. Plaaydoh are most definitely the hottest young band around Glasgow at the moment. Lo-fi, DIY, shouty, and like The Go! Team with ADHD. Someyoungpedro sound like a testosterone-fuelled Mogwai while Clean George offer a dark yet melodic and rocking three and a half minutes. Triple School’s fuzzed guitar and aggressive delivery will induce involuntary dancing.

Ming Ming and the Ching Chings are another band to keep an eye out for. They feature a percussionist and incorporate lots of chanting in their unique brand of indie music. We Were Promised Jetpacks have been referred to as being possibly the most talked about unsigned band in Scotland. Popup have received terrific reviews for their debut album from which their contribution to this compilation comes. Yoko, Oh No & Bruce McClure sound like a Scottish John Cooper Clarke playing with a Gameboy. Dirty Summer describe their brand of indie-dance as “Car crash pop”. Fangs pose, pout and strut their way through the red- light area of disco-punk, while Gummy Stumps not only have a brilliant name, but growl over a Jesus and Mary Chain type of backing.

Paul Vickers and the Leg play a somewhat lo-fi track featuring trashy, boisterous guitars. Lyons have contributed their very first demo recording. Post-punk inspired folk music. Orphans manage to blend Sonic Youth, Shellac, and Melt Banana into four and a half minutes of frenzied noise. Nacional play spiky art-pop songs sprinkled with mid-eighties influences. ‘Surgery 1984,’ by Jack Butler is full of chiming guitars and almost militaristic drumming, thereby creating a dramatic if somewhat sombre three minutes or so. Zoey Van Goey have been likened to The Postal Service with a sense of humour and cover romance, imminent apocalypse and baked beans all in the course of one song! Apparently!

All twenty-three bands on this album are current. They are all either writing, recording or playing live in the Glasgow area and beyond. It’s true – a glance at the weekly gig-listings does not give a full appreciation of what is really going on. It is only when a label with the foresight of Art Goes Pop gathers together such an eclectic mix of bands that it becomes obvious that the Tourist Board are not the only ones who can boast of magnificent scenes. The Glasgow Music Industry can claim likewise.

In Scotland it is not only the hills that are alive with the sound of music! (sorry)