It’s sort of right that the first post I do is a release from the wonderful folk at Soft Power Records, the label from Livingston, Scotland that is responsible for helping to empty my bank account on a regular basis over the least 2 years. I love them to bits, but I’m not sure my bank manager has the same affection for them. This release is no different to the other (insert random number here depending when you’re reading it) Soft Power releases. In other words, it’s superb.
Starting with Seconds, described by the label as “Full on & slightly sleazy” and by the band themselves as “Founded in December 2012”, I can’t argue with either of those statements, although I can’t confirm the latter. You can witness all genres of music in Glasgow on any given night right now. Don’t like what’s on at 13th Note? Pop across the road to Mono. Broadcast not doing it for you tonight? Go two doors down to Nice n Sleazy. The thing about Seconds is they could slot in to any line-up on any night and go down an absolute storm, and the great news is they’ve managed to transfer that vibe to the studio. From the opening call to arms drumming of Crawl Space, through the mesmerising When He Calls, complete with “ooh ooh oohs” and harmonies from singer/keyboardist Joan and drummer Hillary, 3 tracks in and you’re hooked. Part of a Cult is like The B52’s met Devo and decided to rip Howard Devoto off, just for laughs. Bass and guitar from Josh and Richard come to the fore for the last 2 tracks, Break Hole and Bang To Rights, which is as close to a melodic Fall song you’re ever likely to hear. I won’t give the 6 tracks 10 out of 10, because that would imply they can’t get any better. Something tells me they will, and this is only the beginning.
On to Joya. From London, Joya are sort of nothing like Seconds, but at the same time, the same? I’ve known them for a while now, and they’ve always made me think of Carnaby Street at about 4:30am on any given morning in 1966, but I’m not sure why, seeing as that’s the year I was born. In Glasgow. And I’ve never been to Carnaby Street at any time of day. All 6 tracks are complex compositions (which is code for “I tried to play one of them once on the guitar and gave up very quickly”), with vocals that perform somersaults over the cascading guitars and drums. It’s a Stretch is the kind of perfect pop song you know would jump to number 1 if it ever got the airtime. Join The Birds makes me think of riverside walks on a summer evening – bliss. Imagineering is the song I reckon that Damon Albarn bloke probably wishes he’d written instead of wasting his time on cartoons. It’s a BIG song, fulfils every requirement in the songwriting handbook, a modern-day masterpiece. The Family Resigned is the perfect end track to an album. Grand without being grandiose, it makes you think, leaves you wanting more.
And more is what you should want. I’m not going to begin to try and compare the two sides of the lp. They are different, but they manage to sound great when played after each other, and it’s unlikely you’ll end up playing one side more than the other. Don’t believe me, then stream it here and then promise me you’ll go and buy it here. Every home should have one, but only 249 can (I’ve already ordered mine)