This is not only a bloody good EP, it is also the resurrection of an extremely promising band I feared might be slowly drifting into obscurity, as well as my introduction to a really exciting-looking new Glaswegian record label: Armellodie Records.
One of the first Scottish bands I unearthed for myself when I started music blogging was The Scottish Enlightenment. They were about to releases their first single, Eyes, on Moojuice Records and I was really quite excited by their neat intellectualism, and guitar sounds which seemed cut from very classic indie cloth indeed – I am a classic indie kid after all.
They went very, very quiet for a couple of years after that, however, and I have to confess I rather thought they’d given up the ghost. Bands can lose momentum really easily in this business, and for a passion which requires so much determination, self-belief and encouragement, that loss of momentum is very often fatal.
So, roll on a couple of years and step forward Armellodie Records, home to some very interesting bands, not least freshly relocated Glaswegians Super Adventure Club, a band I don’t always like exactly, but who I have a lot of time for and am glad to see working and releasing and showing the kind of energy any music scene needs in order to remain invigorated and vital.
Enjoying a fresh lease of life, suddenly The Scottish Enlightenment seem to have hit upon a rich seam of productivity – they have an EP of new (and largely leftover) songs, recorded during sessions for a new album, which is also due out shortly and to be preceded by a new single as well. For a band who seemed, from the outside at least, to have been up to very little for the last couple of years it becomes clear that whatever they were doing, they certainly weren’t sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.
The Pascal EP is, as I said earlier, songs which for one reason or another didn’t quite end up on their forthcoming album, but it certainly doesn’t sound like a bin full of cast-offs. The sound has settled a lot since the earlier recordings I heard, and comes across a lot thicker and slower now, almost as if it was wading through treacle.
Whilst that could rob the music of its energy, I think it’s actually worked out really well. It’s still quite old-fashioned guitar-based indie, but in slowing down it sounds just a little more confident and sure of itself. It depends a great deal on single guitar notes, which are now dropped into the songs without hurry, allowing the simple but infectious melodies to sink in at their own pace.
David Moyes’ (I think) voice is also from the classic indie school, being just a little nasal, restrained, and about as far from histrionic X-Factor caterwauling as you could want. It’s like the rest of the music – not pushy, not aggressive, not in your face, and perfect for what the band seem to be trying to achieve. This EP hangs together really well, shows the band have courage and determination in working through the slight burst in their bubble, and artistic creativity in evolving their sound as well. I am looking forward to the album a great deal – there is a lot to be admired here.
The Scottish Enlightenment – Eyes
Photo Credit: William James Foster