Song reviews

  Take it or Leave it by The Beautiful Game

Take it or Leave it cover art

Indie rock at the crossroads

Not sure about this one.  “Take It Or Leave It” sounds too close to what you would expect of an average indie rock band yet the singer throws himself at the song like a man on a mission. I also think they should have let their axeman off the leash and turned this into a proper balls to the wall rock anthem.

Review date:  February 16 2012

  Break free by Luna Jamboree

Break free cover art

Soft rock shuffling

It is true to say that Luna Jamboree are easy on the ear and it is also true to say that they draw on the past for their soft rock inspiration so it will be little surprise to learn that both “Break Free” and “Some People” do nothing to offend your ears although only the latter song has sufficient focus to hold your attention.

  Through the Door by The Barrels

Through the Door cover art

West Lothian independents

Although the musicianship is distinctly rough around the edges, The Barrels show  promise with both “Through The Door” and “Blind” being closer to Britpop in feel than the justifiably much maligned indie rock so beloved  of West Lothian bands. Practice might just make them perfect if they follow that musical course.

  A Une Amie by Lilia Scandurra

A Une Amie cover art

Sensitive Italian songstress

An Italian singer singing her songs in French just has to be classy and Lilia Scandurra does not disappoint on that front. There is an understated elegance to both “A Une Amie” and “Parapluie” that suggests both repressed emotion and retro chic simultaneously. The mark of quality is clearly stamped upon her.

Review date:  January 27 2012

  Somebody to Blame by Matt Johnston

Somebody to Blame cover art

Busker with ambition

On the lam from the band Haivercraft, Matt Johnston moves his style towards more conventional Scottish rock (Idlewild and perhaps even The Big Dish) with these two songs. “Somebody To Blame” strolls right down the middle of the road but is still a decent song. “Pacemaker” shows more spirit and style but our Mr Johnston’s delivery of both songs is a touch too polite to make that all important lasting impact on your ears.

Review date:  January 25 2012

  Like you Always Knew by Dirty/Clean

Like you Always Knew cover art

Identikit rockers

For a rock band claiming to be from the rougher parts of Scotland, Dirty/Clean seem rather tame with “Like You Always Knew” failing to escape from the combined shadows of Oasis and The Stone Roses. “Nothing” is a better song but the performances are again lacking in the sort of spark that might perhaps one day make a fire.

  Electric Rooster by Death By Ambition

Electric Rooster cover art

Glasgow extended rockers

From the primordial pool of Glasgow rock bands comes Death By Ambition. “Electric Rooster” flies the flag well for that sort of thing although the song stops just when it was getting interesting.  “Mirror Signal Manoeuvre” , on the other hand, is rather less successful with weak lyrics and an insipid male vocal dragging the song down.

Review date:  January 14 2012

  Made Up Stories by Craig White

Made Up Stories cover art

Another sensitive soul

Light and meaningful in the way of young, thoughtful, singer songwriters, Craig White does a pleasant enough job of his song “Made Up Stories” but I have to observe that he really needs to man up if he is to stand out from what is a very large crowd of similarly sensitive souls.

Review date:  January 14 2012

  Good God I'm on Fire by Haivercraft

Good God I'm on Fire cover art

Glasgow rockers grow hair

“Good God (I’m On Fire)” has that eighties bombastic feel that you would expect of an American hair rock band aiming at the pop charts. There’s a big guitar solo, as you would expect, but the spotlight shines most brightly on the singer’s robust yet simultaneously camp delivery. Safe to say that Haivercraft got it just about right with this one.  “I Want You” shows a sensitive side to the band but that song is ultimately destined to be forever a flipside.

Review date:  January 8 2012

  Garden of Eden by JapanFour

Garden of Eden cover art

Thoughtful indie rockers

A bit of a surprise here as JapanFour neatly escape the limitations of being a West Lothian band with “Garden of Eden”. Decorating the song with some sharp lyrics and a solid Britpop on the rampage groove lets the band stand tall over their geographic contemporaries.

Review date:  January 8 2012

  All I Ever Wanted by Minor Delilah

All I Ever Wanted cover art

Mellow Lanarkshire Boys

What’s this? A band from Lanarkshire that isn’t doing the three power chord thing? Apparently so, as “All I Ever Wanted” shows Minor Delilah to be a band with a sensitive side and a perhaps unhealthy interest in Coldplay. That said, with a bit of work on developing their individuality, they could be interesting.

Review date:  December 26 2011

  The BIg Bad Man by Quixote

The BIg Bad Man cover art

Dispossessed Londoners on the make

Mop my fevered brow for it is time for some stomping, tub thumping and downright raucous piano driven alt-rock that draws as a much from the blues for its redemptive spirit as it does from twisted showtunes for its dramatic impact. “The Big Bad Man” is the song and it hits the mark dead on.

Review date:  December 17 2011

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