With the recent passing of St. Andrew’s day, along with Scotland’s formal calling for independence, (and of course not forgetting Biffy Clyro’s glorious headline sets at Reading and Leeds Festival this past August) it seems our gutsy northern neighbours have been singing a lot recently. Winter is coming, and poor weather is something that those Scots (my dear ancestors) are rather used to. So, to contrast the long hours of darkness, repetitive Christmas advertisements and the freezing of extremities, I can heartily recommend that you give this shimmering shout-out to all things summer a good listen.
To give a sense of what you’re getting, think Editors meets Hungary Kids of Hungary meets Jack Peñate. This is an album of robust spirit, consistently thematic lyrics and great track names (‘Deathrays in Disneyland’). The debut from the Glaswegian guitar-grinders is at times a straight out indie-rock record, something you’d maybe expect to hear over a scene-change on The Inbetweeners (e.g. ‘Forward Thinking’, ‘First Day on Earth’, ‘Future Pill’); however the album offers a pretty decent palette of flavours. With the track ‘We’ve Got Names For Folks Like You’, we’re offered what I’d describe as a softer version of Enter Shikari’s ‘Arguing With Thermometers’, providing evidence that these fellows have something to say (“Are you evil/ are you righteous/ are you something in-between?”). Adding to the somewhat chameleonic nature of the record, songs ‘Deathrays in Disneyland’ and ‘Sunset On the Motorway’ are the more melancholic anthems of the piece, with the latter being a reprisal of adrenaline-accelerating album-opener ‘Sunrise On the Motorway’, a tactic that is potentially influenced by the structure of ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. Meanwhile, penultimate track ‘Rejection Letter’ takes the record on a grungier and dirtier turn, think early Foo Fighters.
The record’s strongest point is the aforementioned album-closer ‘Sunset On the Motorway’. Harmonies ascend ethereally in conjunction with a garage load of reverb and cymbals everywhere. This really is a very evocative track and a fantastic way to round off a debut that should be described as a mighty and mouthy buffalo with a celebrated sensitive side. This is British indie-rock that will no doubt put them on many early to mid-Afternoon slots at various festivals next year and this could well be something else for Scotland to celebrate.
Self Help was released through Electric Honey Records on November 18th 2013.