SMALL MUSIC NETWORK: ISSUE #4 – …And Other Stories


RECORDS


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MEURSAULT – F*** OFF BACK TO ART SCHOOL & OTHER STORIES

A veteran in the Scottish scene for the past decade or so, Neil Pennycook (aka Meursault) made his biggest splash yet in 2017 with the record I Will Kill Again, which received rave reviews and nominations across the board. Now the follow-up has arrived, with a name that we cannot resist – F*** Off Back To Art School & Other Stories – and you know what, he may have outdone himself here!

Crow Hill is an intriguing intro that eventually lends way to Strong Armed Son, where we get our first taste of the writing which is sensational, being so provoking and gripping. Jenifer is comprised of electronics which are dark, gravelly and somewhat brooding; quite fitting of the song’s nature.

With The Unreliable Narrator, a mixture of instruments are used to help generate an unbelievably staggering sound – a trademark quality of Neil’s work – and this is recurrent in the likes of Beaten and Run, Harmony, Run. There are also some songs with a more cordial tone such as New Boy and especially the harmonious Nakhla Dog.

Meanwhile, Carry On Carrion is dripping with an infusing atmosphere, and following on from the rugged Small Victories we have the definitive highlight on the basis of storytelling and lyrics – I Heard My Mother Praying For Me, which is pretty tender and emotional and is able to suck in the listener with a beckoning force. And from there, the title track provides a mighty fine finish to the album.

From end to end, a tremendous product with virtually no flaws. A blend of enticing themes, experimental elements and superb performances make this a major achievement. It’s early days yet, but we can already see this topping numerous best-of lists by year’s end, including our own, quite frankly.


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FAUVES – LES FAUVES

Fauves were undoubtedly one of Glasgow’s hottest acts to emerge in 2017, with the guys making the most of those 12 months to build their name into a valuable one. Now they’ve taken the next step with the release of their first record – Les Fauves.

The polished Is This What It Comes To has a smooth, mild melody to it and some good guitars on show, as it runs up to a high ending. These traits are paralleled in Head Spins, donning a great wee chorus.

Content (For Now) is adequate enough ,after which is the instrumental Orlando that, while only under two minutes in length, is immensely funky and the bass chords are just…ooft. The catchy as hell Twilight Daylight then serves as a satisfying way to finish up.

Minor faults in one or two areas do little to damage what is ultimately a pleasing debut from the group. Best jump on the bandwagon now, because these guys are going nowhere but up.


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THE FINAL CLAUSE OF TACITUS – NOT LIKE THE REST

Last year, The Final Clause of Tacitus made a bloody good first impression with their debut EP, Peace In Chaos, which received acclaim left, right and centre, and we quite fancied it too. Now the boys are set to let loose their highly anticipated follow up – Not Like The Rest – on 9th February, but we’ve been given the delightful opportunity for an advanced listen.

Tables Turn is a formidable opener that gets straight into a groove, particularly with its hooking chorus, and they ramp it up to a wild second half. 5 Minutes Of Funk does what it says on the tin, giving us some seriously intoxicating funk all around, and we find it damn difficult to resist chiming along to the words. We have yet to mention that the chords on these tracks are insane, and they certainly become noticeable in Fingerprint.

There are some old school touches in Try Again, and the lyrics are direct and really in-your-face. Bad For Your Health is another furious onslaught, before spicy bass lines commence the closing number Walk On The Moon which wraps up the record well, capping off with a poignant message.

An absolutely cracking sequel to their previous EP, we predict Not Like The Rest will make a colossal impact upon release, being a fun as hell joyride that successfully entertains in more or less every way.


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KERBERA – PEOPLE LIKE YOU

Kerbera have been growing a reputation as one of Sweden’s go-to rock acts, and it’s certainly easy to judge why when you check out their latest album – People Like You.

A standard is set with The Switchblade Song, featuring excellent vocals and a thrilling pace. From Hero To Villain is hailed by a big drop, and the drumming packs a punch in Four Chambers.

An Absence has a grittier sound it, especially with whopping guitars and snares on display. Oceans is one of the suppler offerings on the record and has some nice lyrics. The chief track Love Like A Loaded Gun has a sheer energy driving it, with all members at their A-game, and it’s topped off with a blistering chorus. They retain these elements in equally surging Your Presence Like Air and Fire’s Purpose Is To Burn.

The power levels are cranked up to the nth degree with Nothing Is Truly Dead, the writing connects in Funeral Plans ,and finally the climatic number Cathedral is headed by cool electronics that boot up the already epic sound, closing off a fantastic album that reflects the talents of a band whose stature is perfectly justified.


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GREYHAVEN – BREATHE

Still fresh off the shelves is Greyhaven‘s brand new EP – Breathe – and their efforts here are, in our minds, really worthwhile.

An explosive drop chimes signals the beginning of Truth, a loud and resounding track that is topped by an equally high-amp chorus. The grand When We Divide is for sure the highlight, thanks to some emotional and affecting writing.

Crows holds up to a solid degree, before moving on to the title number, which embarks softly, but soon enough cranks up to the familiarly exciting acme, with the strong vocals making a real mark here.

An enjoyable record that grows on us with each respective listen.


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EDITS – RE-SURFACE

It’s a real shame that every time we cover the duo of Edits, we have to emphasise just how underrated they are. Liv and Chris are a talented pair that deserve a dose of attention, and if their brand new Re-Surface EP does not win you over, we’re convinced that nothing will.

Tongue-Tied is a chilling opening; the introductory chimes immediately spark an ambience, and it just builds and builds as more layers are added. The lead single Don’t Speak is amazingly passionate and very memorable.

Let Me In brings a more darker sound to the table that is absolutely hair-raising, plus Liv’s harmonies are unbelievable. The guitars are quite serene in Satellite, and they mix well with the pretty piano keys. The resonating synth beats and strong riffs of Poison make up just a part of what is an incredible, bombastic climax to the record.

Re-Surface has surpassed our expectations, proving to be a stunning tour de force that cements Edits as an act that warrant more ears listening in.


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KILLER WHALE – EVERYONE YOU KNOW SOMEDAY

Last year Dougie Smith – widely known as the frontman of Mickey 9’s – was working on his own solo project under the guise of Killer Whale, which he has kept under wraps until recently, as he has started to unveil the result in the form of Everyone You Know Someday.

This is Dougie like we’ve never seen him before, as we are more familiar with him as a kooky yellow-coated masked man jumping around on stage – don’t get us wrong, we freaking love him for it – and it is fresh to see him in a different light here, tackling multiple themes in a delicate fashion.

Forgive Your Enemies calmly eases us in nicely, and Something Like That quite a good beat to it. Aurora Borealis is warm, welcoming and very pleasant, and transitioning into Our Father, the emotions really start to push through and becomes truly spotlighted in the subsequent track Lampedusa.

The lead single Women is utterly tranquil and magnetic, and the same can be the said for Human Dreaming. Losing My Faith has such a euphoric sound that sends tingles all over, before pacifying and taking it down for the empathetic La Poverta, assuredly the focal point of Dougie’s writing ability.

Out of left field, Prison Cell Vibes goes for a somewhat more berserk tone, after which the record ends on an affirmate note courtesy of the latching Blessed. We are very impressed with what Dougie has delivered here, which has made a greater impact on us than we could have ever predicted. This is special.


SINGLES


MEGALOMATIC – CESSPIT

Our good friends Megalomatic are on the rise, there’s no doubt about it – let’s be real, a dominant headline performance at King Tuts is nothing to be ignored – and in their ongoing ride of momentum as of late, they put out a video for Cesspit, off their Symbolism EP.

The first minute is quiet, with not much beyond simple chords and gripping lyrics, after which they launch into their signature meteoric progressive sound, made up of a charged rhythm, clubbing drums and crunchy bass; together producing a hell of a frenzied, swinging rush of energy.


HYPNOSISTER – GHOST

Damian Hughes quickly reached new heights in 2017 with his solo project Hypnosister, attracting attention with his first two singles, Bother and Poorly Boy; the latter which we covered back in November.

Now he seeks to continue in similar fashion across 2018, starting off with his latest song, Ghost. Another awfully good offering here, defined by a cool and memorable chorus and a catchy, oddball instrumental break just past the two minute mark.


FOLDA – AURORA

Here we have a new group on the scene from Edinburgh, featuring faces familiar to us. Dark pop quartet Folda marked their debut at the turn of the year with their first single, Aurora.

This is a tremendous tune with flowing harmonies, a wonderful bright melody and a refined production, not to mention it has a hell of a hook.

An addictive piece that we can’t get enough of; a good sign of what’s to come from this bunch.

 

 

 

 

REVIEW | Quiche – Let’s Be Friends

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How fitting it is to kick off a new and fresh year with a new and fresh act: Quiche, a Glaswegian alternative-psychedelic rock quintet who are nimbly making a positive impression with their elementary EP – Let’s Be Friends.

They speed out the gates with the catchy, quick-tempo Hor-Cha, which entertains in its short time with a flurry of riffs and a contagious hook on the go; that being the faint mumblings of the song title.

The guys then steady up the pace for Costa Calma, an awfully smooth track where the harmonies are warm and the guitars remain great, not to mention the scattered bass notes and cymbal crashes help to beef up the sound.

Closing number Friends commences quietly but eventually nudges into gear with some good lyrics and a sweet rhythm in general. It casually moves along, before suddenly throwing us for a loop out of field and capping off with an insane, rampant barrage of noise.

A top notch trio of tracks from a cracking group who are already showcasing some early promise here. Start off your 2018 right, get those January blues out on their arse and give this one a spin.