Over here at Into Creative we’ve been setting the dial to 33rpm and digging some amazing new albums recently. There are some absolute beauts just released so have a read through of our top picks and please do check them out……
Artist: Vulture Party
Label: Last Night From Glasgow
It says something about Falkirk’s alt-pop agitators Vulture Party, having released three singles in the run up to their second long player that the album opener, Better Days Will Come literally stopped me in my tracks on the first and several plays since. Let me explain, normally a band will showcase the new album by releasing great singles ahead of its launch. So far so good in that those singles (Blood Wolf Moon, Iso Disco & Afterlife) hit the mark but the album opener (in my humble opinion) trumps them all.
I still find nuggets in this song every time I listen to it, from the simple piano to the gentle synth riff, the underlying bass groove to the lyrics “better days will come, if you want them too”…..”…”you make me oh so happy”…..I can’t work out if this is a song of hope or a cleverly disguised dystopian nightmare (what does the vocal delivery hint at)? Either way, the groove is solid, the music multi-layered and it runs to an impressive 6 minutes that never gets tired or boring. This is quintessential Vulture Party, pushing boundaries, leaving the listener guessing, a band that truly make their own way, their own sound rather than follow a well trodden path that some bands do by making the same record over and over.
I mentioned the early singles and Blood Wolf Moon is an absolute belter, the drums propelling a sound that encompasses the best Euro-beats with an almost cinematic soundscape.
Ride That Feeling feels more stripped back, the instruments a bit raw, as if this was recorded live in one take. That just adds to the authenticity here and the split vocals from Louise and David are wrought with feeling as the track just builds, lifting itself from a gentle start to an almost rocky crescendo before sliding back down the scales again, clever.
Elsewhere, Those Desert Eyes starts with a house intro before the synths take centre stage, the lyrics giving a feeling of disconnect as Louise and David’s joint vocal again adds kudos to an elegantly haunting track. Leave Your Parables is somewhat unnerving, Louise’s vocal almost deadpan in its delivery, the music at times sparse, haunting and emotional, this is exactly the kind of music I want to hear, however unsettling that may be at times. Last track Let Love Shine is positively uplifting and a great song to finish the album with.
You can see the progress Vulture Party have made since their self-titled debut album came out during lockdown. They’ve hunkered down, developed their craft exponentially and have come back with what is a truly effecting album here. You need this band in your life, go seek them out via their website here.
Artist: The Mary Wallopers
Album: The Mary Wallopers
Label: BC Records
Has there ever been such an intense reaction to new folk music from Ireland since the early days of The Pogues or Lankum? I doubt it very much and suffice to say The Mary Wallopers are ripping up the rule book and creating their own path to revitalize the genre, bringing it up to date while stepping back into traditions steeped in history.
The Dundalk band compromise brothers Charles and Andrew Hendy and pal Sean McKenna and they’ve just released their self-titled debut album which has the makings of being one of the albums of the year.
The band stamp their own mark on the songs while giving more than a passing nod to their forefathers such as The Clancy Brothers and The Dubliners. First track on the album Eileen Og is heavy of banjo and violin, singalong vocals and a harmony that rides through the middle that is impossible not to tap your feet along to.
Recent single Cod Liver Oil & The Orange Juice first came to prominence through Scottish singer Hamish Imlach’s version, a tale of “hairy Mary” from Bridgeton in Glasgow, a clever cover riddled with humorous lyrics and that’s a theme we see elsewhere in the album, the band happy to take the piss, not to take things too seriously, a perfect antidote to the woes of the world currently.
John O’Halloran features a bhodran in the background as Charles Hendy’s emotive vocal tells the protagonist’s story of moving from Ireland to England in search of fortune and the hard times experienced as a result. This is a song that shudders and leaves a lasting impression on the listener (or it should in my opinion). I doubt there’s a better song on the album.
The Night The Gards Raided Owenys takes it’s tune from The Limerick Rake and has more than a hint of early Pogues era Red Roses For Me. With the band currently touring, this will be a great one live with the initial three-piece band expanded to seven for the live shows.
Again, the Irish diaspora are referenced in Building Up and Tearing England Down, Dominic Behan featuring in a track about the navvies who helped build England, most long forgotten while the Irish are “kept” in their place by the English “concrete master race”. If you know your history………….
An album I never expected these days but one I can’t keep off my turntable, The Mary Wallopers are a more than welcome throwback to the finest of Celtic folk, re-registering that Irish/Scottish tradition of music to be listened to, enjoyed, laughed with, drank to, yet remaining thought provoking on elements of (sometimes shared) history. There is a solid mix of sad laments, ballads and raucous foot-tappers. So the message is this, buy the album, go see them live and tell ’em Into Creative sent you. Blessed are The Mary Wallopers. Follow the band via their website here.
Artist: The Orchids
Album: Dreaming Kind
Label: Skep Wax Records
It’s been eight years since the last album by Glasgow band The Orchids and while that is a lengthy time, one listen to the new long player and I guarantee you’ll be hooked. First track Didn’t We Love You pretty much has it all, harmonies, shimmering guitars, solid drums, dreamy vocals and a bass hook that pulls you in and won’t let go, it is classic Orchids at a smidgen under three minutes, a perfect album opener.
Limitless #1 (Joy) takes things down a notch, a more laid back offering, noodling guitars and effective backing vocals with an almost psychedelic feel going on.
Thereafter, This Boy Is A Mess threatens to be one of the songs of the year. Actually, forget that, it is one of the songs of the year. How to describe it? Mmmmm……. not sure I need to say any more really, it has it all. Give it a listen.
What strongly pulls through as a theme of the album is both the quality of the songwriting and the musical aptitude of the band who first came on the scene in the early 80s. Given some of their fellow luminaries of the Glasgow scene are long gone yet in some cases still going strong, it’s great to see continue to make fantastic music, new single I Never Thought I Was Clever being another standout track here.
The five-piece band have produced a great album and it’s all been pulled together by long time collaborator and producer Ian Carmichael, the songs mixing laurel canyon-esque vibes, Glasgow harmonies and an occasional funky vibe (Something Missing) so there’s plenty going on here.
That psychedelic feel comes around again on I Should Have Thought which is also laden with harmony, vocalist James Hackett’s lyrics delivered in a laid-back style yet to the point.
All in, 13 tracks for The Orchids much awaited comeback album and it’s fair to say everyone hits the mark, a fantastic triumph. Keep up to speed with the band via their website here.