And who has been listening to The Monks? I recognise that holler on the up-beat shuffle of Chains. Still it’s nice to hear Gary Burger’s lot getting credit of some sort."
Sons and Daughters – This Gift
Golly mick, this isn’t what you’d expect from Sons and Daughters. For one it’s a lot less scratchy and jerky, the angularities have been replaced with a sleeker sound and a more noticeable thump in the rhythm department. I know producer Bernard Butler has been laying down the law with them but I didn’t anticipate such a smooth result. It’s a lot more focused than the edgy electronic celidh that we’ve come to expect from them in the past. There is a lot more emphasis on the creation of open spaces in the music, the polishing of catchy hooks, the exploitation of the band’s inherent vocal strengths (check out Darling). Just take the opening salvo of songs as an example.
Guilt Complex is a tremendous pop song that (dare I say it?) sticks to the script with nary a backward glance. Split Lips could be a Fleetwood Mac cut, so powerful is its straight forward pop-folk feel. The Nest flirts with a Girl Like You/Ronnettes drum beat only to create a torch song of sorts not a million miles away in style from the Long Blondes. Rebel With the Ghost is a military stomp that has no nooks and crevices to hide in. It’s shiny and bouncy and strident.
And who has been listening to The Monks? I recognise that holler on the up-beat shuffle of Chains. Still it’s nice to hear Gary Burger’s lot getting credit of some sort.
Maybe it’s unfair to throw all these comparisons around, (and I’m not bothering with picking influences on Darling as I’ll probably get them into court). I suppose I’m doing it to give an indication of where Sons & Daughters are heading. They’ve always had the songs; that’s for sure, and they’ve certainly always had the intelligence to create a good pop record. And it’s nice to see them break out from the cosiness of that “Scottish alternative music” bracket. Scots bands have always been good at playing coy, hiding their lights under bushels. In short, it’s a great, hard hitting pop record, especially attractive if you are unacquainted with their earlier, edgier work. The best proof I can offer is Iodine, an incredibly strong song and should be a single at some point.
Words: Richard Foster