Sympathetic Stupid

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Scottish Belle and Sebastian

To be fair, "The Scottish Arcade Fire" is a hard-to-refuse tagline, even though it is a little stupid. That's what My Latest Novel are being called, and it's working, too. Every good indie-kid who hears the phrase wants to give them a chance. Hey, I bought a ticket to their gig purely on that recommendation.

Is it true? Judge for yourself. This is the standout centerpiece of their debut album Wolves.

[mp3 - ysi - 8MB] My Latest Novel - Sister Sneaker Sister Soul

That's right. It starts out as a pretty indie-pop number, then fades out - but not all the way. And then it's building to a big fat post-rock explosion, complete with a storming drum line, before falling back to basics, with only the strings still visible.

It's Arcade Fire-ish in the basic plan, to make interesting, eclectic indie-rock. But in the specifics, it's less muscular and bombastic, rarely touching that straight ahead anthemic indie-rock that dominates Funeral. The feel, despite the obvious noise leanings, is less jubilant and more thoughtful, more like Une Année Sans Lumière, to which The Hope Edition compares pretty favourably.

The obvious touchstones, then, are much closer to their Glasgow home. The noisy rock builds are Mogwai's type of post-rock. And there's plenty of mid-period Belle and Sebastian and Arab Strap, if only in The Job Mr Kurtz Done. But that's probably just Glaswegian accent bigotry on my part. My other favourite track on the album, though, is Learning Lego, which has a first section straight out of Low's slow-core playbook. It builds, though, into a clever tempo change and mass choral ending.

They keep changing it up throughout, keeping things moving, thought the post-rock builds are pretty common. But there's a good feel to the whole enterprise, it's produced well, and there isn't a truly dud track.

[visit their website]
[buy the album from Speak 'n' Spell]

ADDENDUM: And I forgot to mention that My Latest Novel are playing tonight - that's Thursday 7th - at the Corner. I'll be there. It'll be fun. Double billing with indie-electronic kids Home Video.