Music ELECTRO-POP METRONOMY King Tuts, Glasgow, Thu 20 Jan
POP/ROCK TEAM THE BURNS UNIT with support from Broken Records, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Sun 16 Jan, part of Celtic Connections
Kenny Anderson is setting the record straight. ‘Karine Polwart is not a folkie – she wants to try other stuff. And Emma Pollock is not just the indie queen that everyone thinks she is. And I’m not the . . . whatever.’ (Whatever he is, he is King Creosote). The first remarkable thing about The Burns Unit is
the diversity of its talent: an eight-strong, self- professed ‘Scottish-Canadian supergroup’ that stars the aforesaid well-loved trio, plus multi-instrumentalist Kim Edgar, Indo-Caledonian pop maverick Sushil Dade, hip hop firebrand MC Soom T, piano ace Michael Johnson and drummer/producer Mattie Foulds.
was an awful night when we arrived,’ Anderson reminisces of their Burnsong dalliance. ‘There was a storm, there was a power cut, we couldn’t see each other – we didn’t really know each other. Our names were put into a hat, and we were teamed up for songwriting sessions for three hours in the morning; three in the afternoon.’ He shudders slightly. ‘I wanted to work with Girls Aloud’, says Metronomy’s electro-sage Joseph Mount. ‘I mentioned it a lot in interviews. One fifth of my dream came true.’
The third remarkable thing about The Burns Unit is the Mount has recently written and
manner in which they defy conventions – repositioning Pollock as chanteuse, Polwart as popster, Soom T as bluegrass MC – while shifting the troupe seamlessly through indie, folk, pop, rap and protest songs. It offers artists scope for liberation, and perhaps that’s one reason why they’re still together. ‘With these songs I was like, “God, this is amazing, this doesn’t sound like me.” It’s not the sort of thing that I would naturally gravitate towards,’ nods Anderson. recorded with GA’s Nicola Roberts (‘she’s a well-seasoned professional and much more talented than most people would give her credit for’) but he’s currently living it up in Paris. ‘I’m sitting in front of the telly, my feet are quite cold and there are lots of cars beeping their horns outside,’ he rhapsodises.
The second remarkable thing about The Burns Unit Their debut album, Side Show, was one of last year’s
He’s preparing for a raft of live
is that its members were herded, largely as strangers, for a week-long retreat in in 2006 – and yet they’re still together. There were ominous auspices too. ‘Oh, it loveliest albums. That’s the fourth remarkable thing about The Burns Unit. There are many more. (Nicola Meighan)
COMEBACK TOUR GLASVEGAS Touring Scotland from Thu 6–Sat 15 Jan, see www.list.co.uk for info The last time this writer spoke to Glasvegas frontman James Allan, in advance of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay party last year, he sounded absolutely shattered after two years of touring and promoting on the back of the band’s hugely successful debut album. Having been off the radar for an entire year, did he manage to get a break? ‘James’ idea of a holiday is sitting writing songs,’ laughs the band’s bassist Paul Donoghue.
‘We spent four months in Santa Monica writing the new album earlier this year, and I think the only time he and Rab (Allan, guitarist and James’ brother) were on the beach was when I kicked our football out the window and one of them had to go and fetch it. I spent the whole time in a hammock.’ It sounds like the life, but they did manage to pull together ten songs for recording sessions with Flood in London later in the year, and Donoghue says they’re very happy with the as-yet- untitled second album. He says redemption comes up in James’ lyrics a lot, and that these new songs still
sound recognisably like Glasvegas, despite where they were created.
It wasn’t all plain sailing, though, as drummer Caroline McKay left while the group were in Santa Monica. ‘It was her decision,’ says Donoghue. ‘I just don’t think she was having so much fun any more. We’re all still talking, though, it was really amicable. She’s doing well. So now we’ve got a new drummer, Rab sent up the Batlight for a girl from Sweden called Jonna Lofgren who plays standing up just like Caroline. I think she’s a bit too good for us, mind you. She knows the songs better than we do already.’ (David Pollock)
shows with his revitalised Brighton- based electro-pop band in tow: Anna Prior (formerly of Lightspeed Champion) on drums, Gbenga Adelekan on bass, Oscar Cash on keyboards and saxophone, and Mount himself on vocals, keyboards and guitar. They’re set to preview unheard songs from their third album, The English Riviera – the follow-up to 2008’s well-lauded Nights Out (which variously drew comparisons to Autechre, Prince and Hot Chip).
The List was recently overcome with excitement when Adelekan suggested that the new material sounds ‘like Daft Punk meets the Eagles’. Does Mount stand by such a wondrous claim? ‘I don’t think Gbenga will ever be allowed to forget the day he said that,’ sighs the frontman. ‘In fact, he only said some of it does, which perhaps it does. I wish all of it did.’ Mount has also collaborated with Kate Nash and remixed the likes of Roots Manuva, Franz Ferdinand, Lykke Li, the Klaxons and Goldfrapp. How does remodelling someone else’s work compare with fashioning music from scratch? ‘They are very different beasts,’ says Mount.
Metronomy, too, has different guises. Its original form was a low-key three-piece. ‘Metronomy is now a fully fledged live spectacular,’ says our protagonist, ‘with light-show, raffle, striptease and intermission. Three of those four are lies.’ (Nicola Meighan)
6–20 Jan 2011 THE LIST 61