The city of Glasgow is not famed for its sympathy. The notion of common grace and apathy to a fellow man falls ludicrously short for the so called “No Mean City.”
Yet despite this, the city has a vast and rich tradition in lyrically astute, emotionally quantified singers and songwriters. With great pleasure, then comes the latest addition to that lengthy list.
Warren McIntyre and The Starry Skies release Ask the Animals, an album that can raise a smile from even the glummest of listeners. The brainchild of the effervescent McIntyre, the band brings together an eclectic, harmonious sound that instantly fuses together indie, folk and country.
Led by their eponymous front man, the charismatic Warren McIntyre has a musical wrap sheet that is the envy of his contemporaries. Having chance encounters with some of the industry’s most recognizable icons, Iggy Pop and Chuck ‘My Ding-a-Ling’ Berry, McIntyre is poised perfectly as the leader of this modern day troupe of traveling troubadours.
Not to detract at all from the rest of the band. Some seven strong, it is commercially and musically more viable to have McIntyre as the focal point of the group.
Opening the album, ‘Ask the Animals’ stands as an up tempo protest to the state of the Earth. Channeling the great rebellious attitudes of punk and grunge, the group blends a fiery contrarian commentary with soft, southern country. The lightest sprinkles of rock and roll thrown in for good measure.
A hardened wisdom oozes from McIntyre’s vocals, his voice lamenting, wailing, harmonizing and crooning across the ten tracks. It is in this uncanny knack to belie the relative lack of years on his part that McIntyre stretches the imagination of the listener and takes them on the rebellious heartbreak every song conjures up.
None more apparent than on ‘Time Alone’, the slow paced ballad blares from speakers and headphones with a deceptive volume for a song so slow. As McIntyre’s lyrics drift effortlessly across the wailing slide guitar and gentle snare drum, the longing for unrequited love and endless night spent beneath an ocean of stars are beautifully crafted and conjured for the listeners’ pleasure.
This is Paulo Nutini for grown ups who wish to keep pre-fabricated pop at a long-standing distance. Reachable only by a rowboat across the river Styx.
What McIntyre and his new band deliver here is a collection of songs that travel the long and weary highroad of the human, emotional spectrum. All to the sound of approachable, affable easy listening. Their eclectic, passionate and above all believable sound is the perfect compliment to long summer days and hazy, passionate nights.