There’s an unusual buzz around Edinburgh for this time of year when the city often goes quiet post-festival.
Opening act Poster Paints featuring the talented Carla J. Easton and Simon Liddell (Frightened Rabbit) are a good fit.
They deliver a memorable first gig flying the Scottish indie guitar flag while catching the ear of a crowd just glad to be out the house. Some mesmerising shoegaze riffs would be enough to merit the cover of a music paper back in 1991. Never Saw It Coming suggests what the Cocteau Twins might have sounded like if they were fronted by Clare Grogan while the evocative anthem Number 1 suggests something of The Jesus and Mary Chain.
There was an atmosphere of anticipation for the Glasgow band influenced by the classic California sound of the 1960s. Their sunshine melodies are present and correct on opener Start Again from fan favourite Songs From Northern Britain. Since forming in 1989 they have released 11 long-players with their latest Endless Arcade among their strongest in recent years.
The likes of Home is Norman Blake’s song-writing at its best. Blake’s often smiling face indicates just how happy he is to be on stage again while strumming a 1970 Gibson ES-335. Along with Raymond McGinley and his trusty 1963 Fender Jaguar, the pair create some evocative guitar sounds abetted by the addition of Euro Childs on keyboards who joined the band in 2019.
McGinley has also returned with some stunning offerings to match Blake’s efforts such as Everything Is Falling Apart. While the band’s DNA changed with the exit of co-founder Gerard Love, this is their first album without him, it’s clear there’s enough in the tank from Blake and McGinley to solider on. God Knows It’s True is a fun nod to the past while McGinley tracks such as It’s A Bad World and Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From are blissful highlights. It’s hard to believe The Concept was released as a single 30 years ago next month, the melancholic beauty of the Bandwagonesque opener has stood the test of time. As label-mates of Nirvana in America and Oasis in Britain, they carried the respect of both those bands and the association made tonight through fan T-shirts seems appropriate. Set closer and first single Everything Flows reminds us that maybe it’s not a bad world after all.