I think it’s fair to say that the Scottishness of this band isn’t entirely spurious – just listen to that accent – but I think Sam Taylor may just reside down South these days.
Signed to the everso tiny-looking Dustbowl Records (their whole site appears to be no more than a blog with three posts) they fit nicely in with all the bands mentioned on those three lonely pages: The Miserable Rich, Alessi’s Ark, Johnny Flynn and recently acquired label-mates Takeda.
This is all at the lovely end of the alt-folk spectrum. In fact, it’s not really all that ‘alt’ I suppose – simply acoustic songwriting, which tends to attract that increasingly vague alt-folk tag these days. The folkiest song on the EP, in terms of structure and arrangement, is probably the one I have posted: the beautiful Anchored Down.
The rest of this is simply gently rustling acoustic pop, and really nicely done too. It’s mostly pretty spare as well, although on songs like Rush Hour Wind they show they can add plumpness to the sound when they choose. Generally though there is little more than acoustic guitar backed by the bare minimum of percussion and some extremely lovely female backing vocals.
It’s funny, in my own head I am kind of lumping Adelaide’s Cape in with the likes of Johnny Flynn and Alessi’s Ark and the rest of that London lot, and was about to claim that despite what they have in common with those acts there is still, to my ears at least, a very distinctively Scottish flavour to this music – something in the turn of phrase or maybe the nature of the hush during the quiet moments. Then I realised that this was me lumping an unconfirmed suspicion (that they have anything at all to do with the London alt-folkies, or indeed that they live in London in the first place) in with an obvious vested interest (the desire to think that Scottish music is the best) and probably bending my interpretation to fit these two dubious assumptions.
This is the kind of lazy journalistic bollocks which led the Silver Columns to keep their identities secret to stop people writing nonsense like ‘you can really hear the folky leanings’ about their 80s disco pop record, based on no more than Johnny and Adem’s previous work.
Still, despite the Scottish character, there is a definite flavour of something different about this, which separates it from the similar stuff I hear recorded up here. The choruses are that little more grand and rousing, and the lush parts have more of the sunny day about them than the long, demoralising Winter of sleet and gale which seems to permeate the stuff I hear around these parts.
This is a good thing, however, because you don’t get quite the relentless dourness in which home-grown stuff can be smothered, but that vein, which does still run through this record, brings a touch of authenticity to the often rather emotionally lightweight London stuff. See – I’m still harping on about this narrative I may well have just pulled out of my arse. This is why there’s no such thing as objective music journalism – pre-conceptions and personal slants influence everything far too much.
Whatever, this is a gorgeous EP, and well worth your money. Buy one!
Adelaide’s Cape – With This Regret
Photo Credit: Nigey Boy