a m List 2-9 Aug 2001
Drawn from the heart of Glasgow’s indie rock cognoscenti, THE REINDEER SECTION are putting the super back into supergroup. Words: Mark Robertson
Picture: Lynne Ross
he Travelling Wilburys. Asia. Rock Pile. Elephant‘s
Memory and Blind Faith — hardly a good pedigree is it‘.’
Being labelled a supergroup is something any respectable pop group would balk at. And. despite their protestations. teclmica/ly. that is what The Reindeer Section are: a salacious mix of some of Scotland’s leading indie tykes committed to wax in one fell swoop.
The catalyst for this venture is Gary Lightbody. guitarist and frontman for Glasgow‘s favourite adopted Belfasters. Snow Patrol. ‘1 rule with a rod of iron.’ he says while enjoying an aftemoon sup from the bar at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy. ‘Well. actually it’s more a rod of cheese.’
He has brought together Patrol drummer Jonny Quinn t and members of Astrid. Eva. rein Belle & Sebastian. Mogwai. g, Mull Historical Society. V- j... . Twin. Hercules and Arab Strap Fl," .. I; to create an album of raw. V unfettered beauty. ‘It‘s hardly a supergroup.’ laughs Lightbody. ‘It was just a daft idea that kind of got out of hand.‘
Lightbody traces the source of the band to a ‘creative itch’ and a drunken declaration at a Lou Barlow gig. ‘Snow Patrol were in a fallow period. I just went round everybody and said “D' ya wanna be in a band? You don’t have to worry. [‘1] write the songs you have to just come and play on it.“ Everyone agreed loosely and probably thought I was just drunk. but I sat the next day and wrote the record in my flat and gave out demos to everyone.‘
Thankfully. there is no triple gatefold ‘concept‘ album. very little self-indulgence and a healthy lack of 'experimental' meanderings. Instead. in Y'all Get Scared Now. Ya Hear we get Lightbody‘s plaintive reading of American alt.country and downbeat indie rock. with some keen studio tinkering. considered musical contributions and smart arrangements taking it past that blueprint into more sonically diverse territory.
While not always wholly original (Lou ‘Sebadoh‘ Barlow
«4 5d. cg; ~ 1';- ,.
Snow biz mates: The Reindeer
ction, with head honcho Gary Lightbody (sixth left)
and Will 'Palace Brothers” ()ldham are clear inlluences on more than a couple of these babies). it is a testament not only to Lightbody"s writing talents but. in gathering all these folks in one place at one time. his scheduling skills.
Recorded in ten days at (ilasgow‘s (‘ava studios. the project was overseen by Scotlanth producer par excellence. 'l'ony Doogan. The man at the helm for albums by Belle And Sebastian. Mogwai. The Delgados and Snow Patrol. l)oogan was an intrinsic part of the process. Y'all (11'! Scam]. . . is proof that what you leave out is as important as what you put in. [is sound goes from sparse to full-on breakbeat bux/saw overload.
Of all the players on the record. Lightbody highlights the contribution of Mogwai‘s six—string wrangler John ('ummings as one of the most significant. ‘In the space of two-ainl-a-half hours. he put down eight guitar parts. l sat there with Tony. and John kept going “Was that UK?" He never did more than two takes and it was all amazing.‘
Aside from Cummings' spidery guitar lines. Lightbodys signature vocal swells are the record‘s most prominent feature. Other vocal contributors include the saccharine—toned Jenny Reeve. of liva. and (Jill Mills. Hercules frontwoman and Radio I turntable terror. whose harmonies complement l.ightbody‘s gentle whispers. Another achievement is the moment of concise drama from Arab Strap man-at-arms Aiden Mol‘fat. His vocal contribution to 'Nytol‘ is as succinct as he‘s ever been but rasping as ever. "l‘hey like to take their time don‘t they.‘ says Lightbody of the drawn-out Falkirk dramatists. ‘Aiden says he wrote the lyrics to the track [named after the popular drowse- inducing cough remedy] while on the tube on the way over to the studio. A sentiment befitting a record so swiftly created.
As if getting all these folks together wasn‘t enough just once. they converted again for their Scottish live debut at 'l‘ in the Parks T—Break stage. which was a packed—Iti-the—rafters triumph. Further shows are planned for later in the year. So pleased was Lightbody with the end result that he now plans to continue the band on a permanent basis. ‘l know some people have said to me they thought it was going to be a shambles. I hope that now we've made them eat their words.’
‘I rule with a rod of iron. Well, actually it’s more a rod ofcheeseﬂ
Y’all Get Scared Now, Ya Hear is out on Mon 6 Aug on Bright Star Recordings.