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Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sons and Daughters – This Gift


Sons and Daughters make a wholesome Scottish racket, but if anything this is a slightly more commercial offering than either ‘Repulsion Box’ or ‘Love the Cup’. That’s not necessarily a negative thing and this is easily their most consistent album to date. They seem to have lost the dual female vocals that counterbalanced the Scottish male drawl in a similar way to the B52’s, however the trademark Scottish aggressive shoutiness is still at the forefront.

This is music for everyday application. It’s the soundtrack of the kitchen sink drama of northern life. Whether you’re dropping the kids off, washing up or cutting the lawn. ‘This Gift’ is the perfect accompaniment to all that boredom. It will enrich your life and make you feel just a little happier.

All the songs are essentially winners, as Sons and Daughters have rarely made a duffer, but worthy of special mention are the howling competition of ‘This Gift’, the remake of the Banana Splits theme in ‘Rebel with the Ghost’ and the straightforward chugging of ‘Flags’. My favourite is the opening track ‘Gilt Complex’ which harks back to the earlier LP’s but adds the steel of stronger song writing.

A quality, solid album from the Scottish northcore merchants. Like toilet paper, cereal bars and marmite, it’s something you shouldn’t have to live without.

Friday, 12 July 2013

The Subways – All or Nothing

The Subways have all the constituent parts to produce a great album, but somehow always contrive to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by managing to subtly spoil virtually every song with something irritating. They’re a ‘do what it says on the tin band’ with energy, hi-octane song-writing and clashing guitars. Basically, a slightly more upmarket Mega City 4 for the 21st Century.

Let’s cut to the chase. All or nothing is agreeable enough, but none of the songs have that secret ingredient that made ‘Oh Yeah’ such a classic. It’s distinctly average, but in a good way for the first few listens, then each track gets flicked before it finishes. ‘Turnaround’ is the best of a mediocre bunch.

However, there is a plus side to the Subways. For some time now I’ve had my doubts that Mark King may not be the ideal choice when I am selecting my all time super-group. He’s just not a team player and I doubt he’d gell with the other members of the band. In short he’s a bit of a base playing show off with that weird thumb action. On the other hand Charlotte Cooper from the Subways would fit in perfectly and she can sing too. It’s a no brainer really; King’s benched and Cooper is in.

If you’re a fan of the Subways it’s OK. If you’re not I wouldn’t bother.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Kirsty Hawkshaw - Face to Face

Pick of the Week 35 – Kirsty Hawkshaw

Opus III singer Kirsty Hawkshaw is still going strong and has featured on tracks by, amongst others, Tiesto and BT. Her voice retains that crystal clear integrity and she’s moved on to become a solo performer/songwriter in her own right with an interesting looking album ‘Meta-Messages’, approaching the top of my listening pile. ‘Face to Face’ is an ambient/drum and base/trance crossover with Kirsty’s vocals again taking centre stage. It’s subtle, understated and soulful electronic music.