Song reviews


  Wonderful Life by Saint Max

Wonderful Life cover art

Galloway soul searcher

I’ve always wondered what a demo by Morrissey would sound like. Well, now I know. “Wonderful Life” by Saint Max is no less than acoustic Morrissey style ennui in search of a decent guitarist. I think we’ve been here before.

  Forget the Afternoon by End Of Neil

Forget the Afternoon cover art

From Stirling but not a castle

Singer songwriter time again. End of Neil – the trading name for Stirling songwriter Neil Stewart – does on occasion demonstrate a wry and laconic way with words, as he does with “Forget The Afternoon”, but otherwise founders on the sands of the inane, as with “I Was A Guitar”.  One day someone is going to explain to me why so many performers aim to be the next Mr Average.

Review date:  February 25, 2012

  Born Near the River by Majestic Dandelion

Born Near the River cover art

Old heads on young shoulders

I’ve always liked the music of Majestic Dandelion so it no surprise to me that “Born The Near The River” is yet another of their songs that demonstrates that they have the song writing and performing maturity so often lacking in the ever growing pack of Glasgow bands. Majestic Dandelion may be folk rock in style but the key word here is style.  Sweet!

Review date:  February 24, 2012

  Awe + Struck by Sun Dogs

Awe + Struck cover art

Glasgow programmers

“Awe + Struck” is looped and sequenced but not really destined for the dance floor. Nor, despite the urban electronica ambience, is it really mood music either. There is a weedy vocal lost in the mix too and the end result, whilst not unpleasant, just seems to lack purpose.

Review date:  February 17, 2012

  For My Love by The Ambersons

For My Love cover art

Indie poppers with ambition

Two songs up before the firing squad this time. “For My Love” is neat and to the point with some oddly appealing plastic orchestration that suggests, of all things, ELO without actually being obviously retro. “The Circle Squared” turns up the passion and laconic humour somewhat but shows a similar attention to detail and that makes The Ambersons sound like a band of notable maturity. Too good to be shot…

Review date:  February 16, 2012

  Radio Anna by Raymond Meade

Radio Anna cover art

Ronelle returns

Formerly of The Ronelles is Raymond Meade and “Radio Anna” is our Mr Meade striking out on his own. It’s a polished pop song that would be what was called in the good old days “radio friendly”. It’s got that sort of sixties feel good vibe to it too so it would make a rather fine song for the summer. If we actually get a summer, that is.

Review date:  February 16, 2012

  Take it or Leave it by The Beautiful Game

Take it or Leave it cover art

Indie rock at the crossroads

Not sure about this one.  “Take It Or Leave It” sounds too close to what you would expect of an average indie rock band yet the singer throws himself at the song like a man on a mission. I also think they should have let their axeman off the leash and turned this into a proper balls to the wall rock anthem.

Review date:  February 16, 2012

  Break free by Luna Jamboree

Break free cover art

Soft rock shuffling

It is true to say that Luna Jamboree are easy on the ear and it is also true to say that they draw on the past for their soft rock inspiration so it will be little surprise to learn that both “Break Free” and “Some People” do nothing to offend your ears although only the latter song has sufficient focus to hold your attention.

Review date:  February 1, 2012

  Through the Door by The Barrels

Through the Door cover art

West Lothian independents

Although the musicianship is distinctly rough around the edges, The Barrels show  promise with both “Through The Door” and “Blind” being closer to Britpop in feel than the justifiably much maligned indie rock so beloved  of West Lothian bands. Practice might just make them perfect if they follow that musical course.

  A Une Amie by Lilia Scandurra

A Une Amie cover art

Sensitive Italian songstress

An Italian singer singing her songs in French just has to be classy and Lilia Scandurra does not disappoint on that front. There is an understated elegance to both “A Une Amie” and “Parapluie” that suggests both repressed emotion and retro chic simultaneously. The mark of quality is clearly stamped upon her.

Review date:  January 27, 2012

  Somebody to Blame by Matt Johnston

Somebody to Blame cover art

Busker with ambition

On the lam from the band Haivercraft, Matt Johnston moves his style towards more conventional Scottish rock (Idlewild and perhaps even The Big Dish) with these two songs. “Somebody To Blame” strolls right down the middle of the road but is still a decent song. “Pacemaker” shows more spirit and style but our Mr Johnston’s delivery of both songs is a touch too polite to make that all important lasting impact on your ears.

Review date:  January 25, 2012

  Like you Always Knew by Dirty/Clean

Like you Always Knew cover art

Identikit rockers

For a rock band claiming to be from the rougher parts of Scotland, Dirty/Clean seem rather tame with “Like You Always Knew” failing to escape from the combined shadows of Oasis and The Stone Roses. “Nothing” is a better song but the performances are again lacking in the sort of spark that might perhaps one day make a fire.

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