Geneva EdinburghzThe Venue, Mon 22 Nov

A couple of years ago, Geneva seemed to come out of nowhere, rapidly garnering critical acclaim and a loyal fanbase thanks to a series of emotionally supercharged gigs and a brace of Top 40-skirting singles. Then they disappeared into the studio, off and on, for two whole years. ’It wasn’t that we were holed up the entire time,‘ says singer Andrew Montgomery, ’but it took us a while to get together with Howie B and Tommy D, who we really wanted to work with.’ Judging by recent warm- up gigs, the long wait to collaborate was worth it, with the epic, swooning guitar sound of old augmented by cinematic instrumentals and a tendency towards denser, more complex arrangement.

This move into more experimental territory was not a conscious decision, however: We didn't sit down and say, "We are going to make an experimental record this time,“ says guitarist Stuart Evans. ’T he change is more to do with the people we’ve been collaborating with. Howie B became an honorary member of the band and had massive impact on arrangements; plus we've managed to get our hands on equipment we haven’t been able to afford in the past, and we’ve never learnt to use any of it properly, which led to some interesting mistakes.’

Fans of old should not be discouraged, however, as

Flouting convention: Geneva

Geneva have not so much reinvented themselves as extended the scope of their material, which still retains their trademark combination of the maudlin and the uplifting. 'We still feel we have a duty to put a lot of ourselves into the music,’ says Montgomery. ’It doesn't matter if it’s a political viewpoint or something personal, as long as you respect the fact that people buying your records deserve to hear something genuine. I think that’s why most people think of us as an unhappy band. We aren't, obviously, sad all the time; we just write about the things that affect us most.’

Despite the lengthy hiatus, Geneva remain at their best performing live, when their smoothly crafted recorded output takes on a rougher edge and Montgomery's soaring vocals come into their own. ’We don’t prefer performance to recording as such, but it is a more immediate experience and there's something amazing about getting immediate feedback from your audience. and, of course, playing live involves touring, so you get to live out the-rock'n’roll lifestyle.’

Hopefully, this hankering to get back into the thick of things will translate into a reprise of the high-octane performances that made the group's name in the first place. For those who like their pop music to hit head and heart in equal measure, Geneva are a love affair waiting to happen. (Jack Mottram)

I Geneva ’5 single Dollars In The Heavens is out now on Nude. The album follows in the new year.


Hut Records. Gomez are on Hut, right? Glad you mentioned them. Marc and the boys have quickly become quite chummy with the Gomez posse, no doubt swapping tequila stories round the old campfire. In fact, Hobotalk could recently be found opening for their labelmates at their Barrowlands gigs last month. What's more, those loveable Gomez lads even make an appearance on the debut Hobotalk album, due out next year.

Next year? Can't wait til then. And


We need a new band to love. Preferany mournful country minstrels born under wandering stars. Do Hobotalk walk the walk?

Hobotalk, you say. Any relation to The Littlest Hobo? Funny you should say that. Main Hobotalker Marc Pilley explains: 'Hobotalk is all about me wandering a lot. The amount of times I've felt like Harry Dean Stanton in Paris, Texas - all that walking, never resting.’

Any other similarities to the canine do-gooder of the kids TV show? Well

Until tomorrow, they'll just keep moving on: Hobotalk

yes, as it happens. The Hobotalk sound evokes images of smalltown Americana. Tumbleweed blows through their tunes while the band baccy-chew their way through some beautiful, melancholy country songs of heartbreak and isolation.

So they're Yanks then? Erm, not exactly. Originating from the country heartland of - er East Lothian, the four band members had all done the rounds in local bands before finally coming together to form Hobotalk two years ago. Not long after they formed, a tape landed on the desk of Hut Records, who promptly signed them up.

you don't have to. 'Pictures of Romance', their first EP, is out on the 15th of November, and they're touring Scotland to promote it.

What can we expect? Imagine Gram Parsons if he'd been forced to live in Dunbar for 30 years. Marc sums up the band’s philosophy: ’Hobotalk is all about the song. It's a real timeless thing, and a placeless thing too. I think our records will sound as good on the M25 as they will on a balcony in Manhattan.‘ (Doug Johnstone)

I Hobotalk play at Edinburgh: La Belle Ange/e, Sat 20 Nov; Glasgow: King Tut’s, Sun 21 Nov. The EP ’Pictures Of Romance’ comes out on Fri 75 Nov on Hut.

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Surface noise

Musical news, feuds and rumours

CONGRATULATIONS TO a star of the future, Marsha Shandur. The Station Manageress of Edinburgh University's Fresh Air FM, she was crowned Best Female DJ at the 1999 Radio 1 Student Radio Awards. Her style impressed judges including Mark Goodier and Radio 1 Controller Andy Parfitt, and she received her award from Jeremy Healy at a bash compered by popular idiot Chris Moyles.

DRUMMERSl HELLO! Point Blank, who recently released their debut album 50/50 to no small amount of acclaim, are looking for one of your kind. They’re signed, they’re sorted, they're pretty damn good and they might be your ticket to fame and fortune. Call Andrew on 01698 334 655.

WHO SAID THAT Scottish bands weren't in with the jet set? The Bay City Rollers are set to become the hippest of the hip, now that Courtney Love has fallen head over platforms for Caroline Sullivan's book about them and decided to make it into a film. More 705 nostalgia round Teenage Fanclub way - rumour has it they’ve been jamming with The Wurzels during breaks in recording their new album.

AND WHO SAID Scottish bands didn't have no class? Local tykes Skank Youth Team are currently expanding the job description of the rock combo by playing a slot as part of Curve Foundation's modern dance interpretation of Westworld, showing Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Sat 20 Nov. See preview on page 59.

COUNTRY MUSIC HAS made a pretty good job of shedding its rhinestones .

'n’ poodle perms image in recent years, so the time is ripe for Glasgow’s Shoeshine records to launch its new country/folk imprint. Spit 8. Polish will be inaugurated at a big bash during the Celtic Connections festival in the new year. List favourite Ben Vaughn will be joined by fellow American performers Laura Cantrell and John Herald at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Wed 19 Jan.

Ben Vaughn

l8 Nov-2 Dec 1999 THE [18143