on occasion the singer sounds like he's about to throw up
Le Reno Amps hail from North East Scotland, but operate out of Glasgow, possibly because it's a tad bit warmer, (or wetter?) there. I only mention it because, if I hadn't have looked it up, I would never have guessed it, what with So For Your Thrills being so steeped in Americana. I've never imagined Scotland to be a dry, dusty place, apart from the floors of some little used Community Centres, but listening to Le Reno Amps brings forth images of cheap whiskey, dirty clothes, unkempt hair and lots of dust. Actually, that could be the inside of a student house, so maybe there's a link there somewhere?
Whatever, what really matters is the music - and this is very entertaining and very accomplished stuff. Keyboards, pianos, pedal steel guitars, fiddles, mandolins and banjos - all the country rock staples are there and together they create a very welcoming, addictive little sonic mixture. Standout tracks include Poison Letter, with it's bombastic horn section and How You Did Me Wrong (and how much of a country and western song title is that?), which takes three and a half minutes and fills it full of catchy guitar hooks, a wall of brass horns and a chorus to sink your teeth into. Then there's Beautiful (My Time Has Come), which skips around a jaunty banjo lick with a big grin on its face and Holly Wouldn't Have Me, (another classic country title), with its splish splash drum beat and infectious chorus, to keep you entertained.
Sadly, there's a slight downfall. It's in the vocals, which are a little too reminiscent of that guy from Crash Test Dummies for my liking. Mmmmmmmm. It's not that the vocals are bad, they're not, it's just that on occasion the singer sounds like he's about to throw up, which isn't the most pleasant of images. That's just me though and if you give them a chance, you'll probably get along fine with that voice. There's a lot to like hereand if you're in the mood for something new and slightly off kilter to the rest of the indie nonsense flying around at the moment, then Le Reno Amps are well worth the investment.
Words: Damian Leslie