MUSIC | REVIEWS
P H O T O :
T H E T W L G H T S A D
INDIE THE TWILIGHT SAD Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Thu 29 Nov; Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park, Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow, Sat 8 Dec
Four years ago I spoke to James Graham of The Twilight Sad ahead of the band’s fourth album Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave. He didn’t appear to be in a great place. The previous record, No One Can Ever Know, hadn’t done as well as hoped, and he seemed concerned that the band was toiling in obscurity. ‘The goal before that record was just to be able to make another one,’ he recalls now. ‘But it brought things I never expected: it was just crazy.’ The past four years have been an emotional rollercoaster for Graham, but for the band, vindication came with the fulfilment of a dream. The tour for the album was coming to a close just as the band received an offer to support The Cure. ‘It was a life-changing experience,’ says Graham. ‘They were the band we would have chosen to tour with in our dreams, but not only that, playing our music to crowds that size and seeing it go down well, with Robert Smith watching from the side of the stage every night, it felt like walking through a dream.’
It was Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite who introduced Smith and Graham, and his label Rock Action has taken on their new record It Won’t Be Like This All the Time. ‘Those two years [between records] held some of the most polar highs and lows you can experience. I got married, we’ve had a son, but some things in my personal life meant I was the lowest I’ve ever been.’ The loss of his good friend Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit came very close to the birth of his son. 'Lyrically, the record reflects that. The title means two things: that you should appreciate the good times while you can, but when you’re low, you have to know you’re not always going to feel like that.’ (David Pollock) It Won’t Be Like This All the Time, Rock Action, Fri 18 Jan.
POP / R&B ALL SAINTS O2 Academy, Glasgow, Mon 10 Dec
Girl groups were a ubiquitous part of 90s pop culture. But while the Spice Girls were held up as the new face of 'girl power', with their mainstream-friendly brand of feminism resonating with many, their effortlessly cool counterparts All Saints were advocating for an entirely distinct version of female empowerment. Shaznay Lewis, Mel Blatt and sisters Nicole and Natalie Appleton didn't fit neatly into the shiny pop mould created by the music industry, instead remaining fiercely independent and choosing to focus on the strength of their music over pop consumerism. 'Whatever was going on commercially, within our music, I think we always worked with people that
were a bit more left of field,' Shaznay Lewis explains, ‘from our first album, where we worked with people like Nellee Hooper, Cameron McVey and K-Gee, who himself was originally a hip hop artist, to the second album, which had William Orbit.' With five number one hits since their 1997 self-titled debut, the group recently returned with their fifth studio album Testament, following 2016’s reunion record Red Flag. It sees them team up once again with producer Orbit and long-time collaborator Karl 'K-Gee' Gordon and although there are subtle hints to classic All Saints numbers, Testament takes them to new territory.
'One night, Shaz and I were out having a couple of cocktails and we bumped into him [Orbit] in the bar,' says Nicole Appleton. 'It was just like no time had passed and we started reminiscing. So a few months later, there we are back in the studio with him again. It was just amazing.' (Arusa Qureshi)
INDIE FATHERSON Barrowland, Glasgow, Fri 2 Nov
Scots trio Fatherson's new album Sum of All Your Parts distils the essence of Scottish indie. It captures the rock riffs of Biffy and Idlewild, the epic choruses of Twin Atlantic and the intelligent, introspective lyrics of Frightened Rabbit. 'We're not a heavy rock band, we're not a folk band, we're not an indie band. Just somewhere in-between,' explains vocalist / guitarist Ross Leighton. Forming in Kilmarnock as teenagers, they gigged across the country and the festival circuit before
releasing 2014’s I Am An Island and 2016’s Open Book. However, they had a new approach, collaborating with producer Claudius Mittendorfer (who has worked with Johnny Marr, Weezer and Arctic Monkeys), for their third album. 'We basically recorded the whole album live which we'd never done before. It’s not something you really do in the modern age, you just track everything separately; it was a really good experience,' according to bassist Marc Strain (who alongside drummer Greg Walkinshaw make up Fatherson). 'It was freeing because when you go to play it live there's none of that bullshit because it was just three guys in a room making music,' adds Leighton. Citing influences as diverse as Frank Ocean and a debt to Frightened Rabbit (in particular Frabbits'
fourth album Pedestrian Verse), this raw approach obviously worked for Sum of All Your Parts. 'The sound of the album is not crazy different but it is a very different sounding album,' says Strain. 'We've got to a place where we're really proud of the album and feel confident people will love it. At the end of the day we love it.' (Henry Northmore)
108 THE LIST 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019 108 THE LIST 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019