Song reviews

  Highland Home by Dave Bremner

Highland Home cover art

Sentimental scotsman

“Highland Home” is a fundraiser for a charity called Clan Cancer Support Charity. It’s slow paced and reminiscent of Donnie Munro at his most parochial but, hey, it’s in a good cause so we’ll let that slip. No idea why the feeble attempt at faking the bagpipes was in there though.

Review date:  November 25 2012

  Woman on a Mission by Carrie Zaruba

Woman on a Mission cover art

Northbound to Nashville

Nashville country is hardly deprived of big voiced female singers telling it like it but Carrie Zaruba nonetheless sets out to make her mark with “Woman on a Mission”. The song has that confident yet still girl next door Shania Twain type vibe and a by the numbers production elevated only by some energetic fiddle playing. Undeniably, the end result is very truckstop waitress friendly, if you know what I mean.

  Butterfly by Lizzie Sider

Butterfly cover art

Young start up

“Butterfly” is about as commercial as you can get in the super safe world of Nashville country and Lizzie Sider – at a mere 14 years old – seems determined to use it to kickstart a career in da bizness. She has the attitude to get the job done but, given her tender years, it is perhaps unsurprising that she lacks the individuality that will stamp her indelibly in the memory of record buyers.

Review date:  November 18 2012

  Katherine by The World Service

Katherine cover art

Lightweight melodics

Leeds band The World Service run all sweet and melodic with “Katherine” as they exhume Donovan and C86 influences for one more ear pleasing run through the history of pop. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to wear a cardigan and look dreadfully intense whilst your iPod gently weeps.

Review date:  November 18 2012

  Friction by Cardiophobia

Friction cover art

Italian indie rockers

Messed up Italian indie rockers start off all three chords and normal but then twist “Friction” into psychedelic distortion, a middle eight of proper rock riffs and some general weirdness. Inspired and more imaginative than the norm, Cardiophobia prove themselves to be a band with a clear purpose.

Review date:  November 18 2012

  Dodos by Suspire

Dodos cover art

Ambitious Glasgow band

“Dodos” turns out to be a mid paced and surprisingly mainstream rocker from this Glasgow band. Not that I’m complaining as it sounds professional and radio friendly without being obviously commercial and that, my friends, is usually the mark of true quality.

Review date:  November 11 2012

  Mountains Define You by Frida Selander

Mountains Define You cover art

Sweden goes sort of country

There’s a bit of everything in “Mountains Define You”. There are smoky vocals, a Scottish indie pop jangle to the guitars, a harmonica solo and an overwhelming sense of the getting out of the dustbowl and into the city decorating the lyrics.  You could almost call it country if it were not for the knowing quirkiness of it all. I’m sold on this one.

Review date:  November 11 2012

  Ithaca by Look, Stranger

Ithaca cover art

London synth poppers

“Ithaca” is a rather endearing bot of retro style synth pop that would surely have dented the charts if it had been released twenty years ago and would no doubt have put this London band on the trail of Depeche Mode if it had. Unfortunately, today is today but this song nonetheless has an appealing innocence in its favour.

Review date:  November 11 2012

  Hospital by Hospital Neon

Hospital cover art

Ambient post rock hybrid

“Hospital” is a moody and bleak song that walks the line between ambient and post rock quite successfully. I’m not entirely convinced by the male vocals but they fit into place nicely. It would appear that Hospital Neon is an alias for the underrated PNDC so those of you in the know will appreciate what you are getting here.

Review date:  November 11 2012

  Staring At The Ground by Little Victories

Staring At The Ground cover art

Leeds indie popsters

Leeds band doing a bit of old time indie pop. Little Victories’ song “Staring at The Ground“ might not stray far from the expected but they nonetheless manage to bring both warmth and bit of subtlety to its execution with the end result being quite endearing in its own way.

Review date:  November 3 2012

  Dead Happy by Very Well

Dead Happy cover art

Melody Edinburgh style

New Edinburgh band Very Well take the Idlewild road with “Dead Happy”. What you get is a melodic, vaguely retro, song that sounds more expensive than it should and is further distinguished by Daniel Abercrombie’s confident vocal. However, I am once again forced to comment on the lack of decent guitarists in dear old Scotland even if the end result was actually easy on the ear.

Review date:  November 3 2012

  Bloodvessels by Juba

Bloodvessels cover art

Portuguese indie rock

Juba are from Lisbon and actually manage to make indie rock sound interesting with their song “Bloodvessels”. The pounding drums, cascading guitars and moody male vocals fall into place nicely and the end result responds well to being cranked up to full volume.

Review date:  October 30 2012

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