Song, by Toad


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 7th December 2008

Castle in Snow

Christ on a bike, after nothing at all last week, all of a sudden things are going bananas this week.  You could pretty much be at a good show every night if you wanted. I’m not going to write much in this intro because, frankly, there are so many gigs to bloody write about that the post would run on far too long otherwise.

Suffice to say that Friday’s party was, from my perspective, a massive success.  The open mic bit at the beginning was not an idea many people were overly convinced by, but I think pretty much everyone enjoyed it in the end.  I certainly did.

Tuesday 9th December 2008: Frightened Rabbit at the Liquid Room.
Despitely having rather disappointingly turned into Snow Patrol on their last album, there’s no doubt Frightened Rabbit, when they’re good, can be absolutely brilliant.  In terms of one last big gig to attend before the Hogmanay chaos, this archetypal Scottish indie would be an excellent choice.
Frightened Rabbit – Music Now

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Tuesday 9th December 2008: Louis Barrabas at the Forest Cafe.
Mr. Barrabas is described as ‘vaudeville folk’ in some quarters and listening to his MySpace page it’s difficult to fault that impression.  Frankly it sounds like two things to me: firstly, the kind of gig you’d be much more likely to see during the Festival; and secondly, like it really will be absolutely brilliantly entertaining.  I don’t think (although I’m not sure) that he will be bringing a band, so the theatrical musical chaos might be slightly lacking when compared to his MySpace recordings, but that doesn’t sound like it will matter much.  Excellent stuff.
Louis Barrabas – Love Struck Me Down

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Wednesday 10th December 2008: Benni Hemm Hemm at the Bowery.
I don’t know Benni’s music, but I have met him and he is a truly lovely guy.  Listening to his MySpace page, he seems less moody than the stereotypical Icelandic band, perhaps more in the style of a broader Scandinavian indie-pop, although with a lot less bubblegum.  That’s not very informative at all is it, sorry.
Benni Hemm Hemm – Veildiljod

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Thursday 11th December 2008: Jack Richold & Faith Nicholson at the Bowery.
Jack plays beautifully hushed folk songs, and Faith has a truly gorgeous voice.  Are they any good?  Well Jack wrote half the songs for the Nightjar album, and both sings and plays violin on The Moth Trap, on Song, by Toad Records.  So have a listen to this alternative version he and Faith recorded of Lady of the Calico from that album and decide for yourselves.  Bloody gorgeous.
Jack Richold – Lady of the Calico

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Thursday 11th December 2008: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart & The Foundling Wheel at Sneaky Pete’s.
Before supporting the Weddoes the following evening at the Liquid Room, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart bring their old-fashioned indie sound to Sneaky Pete’s, alongside Edinburgh racket-merchant The Foundling Wheel.  The Pains &c. might easily have been around in the mid-eighties when the Wedding Present formed, if you were to only judge by their sound, but I reckon The Foundling Wheel might shake things up a bit.
The Pains of Being Pure of Heart – Everything With You

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Friday 12th December 2008: The Wedding Present at the Liquid Room.
Okay, so the Gedgerator’s music may be slipping into the ordinary these past few releases, but the Wedding Present play a furiously brilliant live show, and they have more quality in their back catalogue is so far ahead of almost any other band out there that there’s no way you can lose at a gig like this.  Break out the guitars, boys.
The Wedding Present – Step Into Christmas

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Friday 12th December 2008: This is Music, with Jesus H. Foxx & Mitchell Museum at Sneaky Pete’s.
Jesus H. Foxx are spiky indie-poppers, well known on the Edinburgh circuit, but I’ve not really heard of Mitchell Museum before.  A quick listen on MySpace leaves the impression of mid-era Britpop, well executed and definitely interesting.  A few more songs, however, bring you into a much more eccentric realm.
Mitchell Museum – Exciting But Drunk

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Saturday 13th December 2008: Will Cookson, Rob St. John & Withered Hand at the Wee Red Bar.
Mr. Cookson has the best set of influences of any band in history – ever!  Just have a look.  The man must be a genius.  Apart from that, two of Edinburgh’s finest alt-folkers (sorry Rob) tread the Trampoline boards (trampolines don’t really have boards, do they) so although I can’t be there myself, this might be my most confidently recommended show of the week.
Withered Hand – I Am Nothing

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

149 witty ripostes to Live in Edinburgh This Week – 7th December 2008

  1. avatar
    Tom (sexy....yeah!!!)

    Frightened Rabbit turned in Snow Patrol?…..what glue have you been sniffing Matthew?

  2. avatar

    The new album sounds like Snow Patrol. Alright, it’s better than recent Snow Patrol, but it’s still bloody Snow Patrol.

  3. avatar

    utter shit mr toad. the new album is brilliant and i hate snow patrol.

  4. avatar
    Tom (sexy....yeah!!!)

    i was trying to be a little more constructive….but fuck it….Euan you’re right!!!!

    Toad! outside now!!!!!

  5. avatar
    Tom (sexy....yeah!!!)

    …anyway…..I Am Nothing, is my song of the year…fact!!!!

  6. avatar

    The new Frightened Rabbit album sounds like it falls about two thirds of the way between When It’s All Over… by Snow Patrol, which is excellent, and Final Straw, by Snow Patrol, which is XFM fodder. That is simply obvious listening to it.

  7. avatar
    Tom (sexy....yeah!!!)

    jesus christ

  8. avatar

    Emily Scott is playing support at the Bowery on Wednesday. Worth going to see her alone..

  9. avatar

    Trampoline will be great and then I’m sure we’ll all head down to toad hall for a good old booze up and discussion about how good frightened rabbit are. and my latest novel supporting – i only properly heard them for the first time on our jaunt with the french quarter – but wolves sounds like a brilliant album.

  10. avatar

    My Latest Novel supporting? Hmm, might consider popping along for that. I really liked their album.

    I’m not saying I don’t like some of the new FR album, and I loved the first one, but the second is largely unremarkable, in my opinion.

  11. avatar

    back to the frightened rabbit discussion – that is lazy as fuck matthew! by far the laziest comparison you’ve ever come up with. and just nonsense.

  12. avatar
    the nae bother

    The Mitchell Museum, if you can navigate around their (maybe) mid-era-britpop-ness (you’re in a cruel mood i think toad) are a very good band indeed, well worth hearing if you haven’t before.

  13. avatar
    Tom (sexy....yeah!!!)

    unremarkable…….i’m sitting here with my jaw on the computer and a look of complete and utter disbelief on my face!!!

  14. avatar

    no – i think it’s slightly more polished than the first. but that’s expected. other than that, i think it’s a very good follow on to the first album and not that dissimilar. given that i heard backwards walk before the first album came out i would bet that a lot of those songs were written around the same time. and i would argue that your beef with the album is more the production than the songs. the snow patrol comparison is poor.

  15. avatar

    Jesus! I turn my back for a minute!

    One minute there are no comments on this thread, I take a few minutes out to listen to I Am Nothing about six times (and work out the guitar chords – nice..) and all hell breaks loose!

    …i would argue that your beef with the album is more the production than the songs

    Mmmm… beef.

  16. avatar

    pish posh dylan. pish posh

  17. avatar

    Jack Richold and Faith Nicholson!!! Hurrah…. They make such beautiful music. Ive seen them play together twice now and they really do make my hair stand on end. I have quite alot of hair.

  18. avatar

    nae bother – I agree. Some of their stuff sounds really good. I think I am definitely going along to see them. Expect a post tomorrow as well.

    Euan – when Snow Patrol were less ‘produced’ they were excellent. When It’s All Over is a top album. Perhaps these songs might indeed sound better if they had a little bit of rawness left in. I loved the slightly stuttering rhythms and the vocals that seemed to flirt with losing the tune from time to time on their first record.

  19. avatar
    Campfires & Battlefields

    Oh, for crying out loud. Good Hands vs. Bad Hands? Christ, not many tunes better than that came out this year. Those drums! Those layers upon layers of backing vox! Never seen them live, so I’ve nothing to add on that score, but this Midnight Organ Fight business is top notch. Top. Notch. Better every listen.

  20. avatar

    Is that the FR album with the “Old Fashioned” song, cause I really, really like that one. The whole album is great and I’m kicking myself for not seeing them when they were here. Snow Patrol indeed, pffft!

  21. avatar
    Tom (sexy....yeah!!!)

    whoop whoop……C&B is my new best friend

  22. avatar
    Tom (sexy....yeah!!!)

    Tart is another….how lonely is your island Mr Toad!!

  23. avatar

    Yes. It’s a great song. So is Modern Leper. So is that sweary song about kicking its cunt in. Still, no matter how many times I listen – and I have tried very, very hard with this album – there may be a few special songs, but it is largely a pedestrian album.

    The end.

  24. avatar

    Sounds a bit like Snowplay or Cold Patrol to me.

  25. avatar

    Why yes, yes it does.

  26. avatar

    I always enjoy the monday ‘this week’ thread to see what scorn people can pour over matthew for whatever he’s forgotten or not noticed but obviously today’s is an added treat. Although I would add that I really like listening to My Latest Novel although I saw them live one time and probably wouldn’t again. Doesn’t stop me listening to recorded stuff but it was all a bit ‘sit down and listen’ live and that can have it’s place but not when you don’t get out much.

  27. avatar

    I just heard Midnight Organ Fight for the first time this morning, and it’s been on repeat non-stop ever since. Okay, so the guitars are a bit “indie pop” at times, and his voice sounds a little like the bloody Sn*w P*tr*l numpty (though is that just ‘cos he’s Scottish?) but I’m highly impressed and reckon it’s got just the right amount of edge lyrically, even if the production is a bit slick. Enjoy seeing them live: pity they’re not playing anywhere I could see them (nobody, not nobody’s good enough to make me pay to see Biffy Clyro).
    If fact, sod it – I’ll write my own post about it and quit wasting space here…

  28. avatar

    […] this latest Frightened Rabbit album has been the topic of some heated debate on the Song, by Toad site (scroll down to the “comments” bit to see what I’m on about).  Many are the […]

  29. avatar

    Have to agree with the majority here I’m afraid Matthew. The Midnight Organ Fight is very high on my best of list this year. Absolutely wonderful album. And I hate Snow Patrol too. And Coldplay.

  30. avatar

    Sorry I missed friday’s party, sounds like you had a good time, Matthew. BTW Can I ask you to list the Aberfeldy gig at teh Vodoo Rooms on December 23, which I and Mrs. 17 seconds will most definitely be attending!

  31. avatar

    I have the early snow patrol albums and I never connected to them. I do hold my hands up and admit that both albums by the reindeer section are excellent though. however, at no point do they sound like frightened rabbit and at no point does the midnight organ fight come close to being pedestrian!! and lyrically I think he’s brilliant. You’re sweary songs lyrics are some of the best I’ve heard in a long time about a break up. genius.

  32. avatar

    I know indie-meh when I hear it, and that album is indie-meh. It’s not just the vocals and the production, the way the songs are built sounds amazingly similar, which basically just leaves the lyrics, which are definitely far superior. I still don’t really understand all the over-excitement about this lot.

    (Yes Ed, of course – I’ll be there myself, I should imagine.)

  33. avatar


    There’s also the Come On Gang/Kid Canaveral single launch at Voodoo Rooms on Saturday.
    And Joan as Policewoman at the Liquid Rooms is probably worth a mention.

    And – since your sunday afternoon post is now going out on a monday night – someone told me that Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan on Sunday are being supported by James Yorkston.

    And so the very week I’m meant to start getting frugal for the long December turns out to be the busiest of the year for gigs.


  34. avatar

    I like fr, I like dancing with my lass to old old fashioned, i think they’re class. Can see Matthews point though, the production on the album is a tad snow patrol.

    Anyways, if anyone here isn’t going to see the brilliant withered hand on Saturday and you’re in the mood for some sea-shanty(ish) folk rocky type thing then you’d be more than welcome at the harbour in from 9 where the stormy seas are playing (sorry about the shameless plug)


  35. avatar

    “since your sunday afternoon post is now going out on a monday night”

    Fuck off. Sometimes, just sometimes, I am actually unable to avoid doing work at work.

    Bollocks – of course, the Kid Canaveral/Come on Gang one too. Christ almighty, you could live this week twice over and not get to everything.

  36. avatar

    i think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree mr toad.

    interesting fact: our old drummer gordon looked a bit like gary lightbody. we went to see deus at the qmu and who should turn up but mr lightbody so gordon went across and asked him if he thought they looked alike. he agreed that they did. anyways, later that night as we were leaving the venue, some drunk glasgow lad came up to gordon and asked the question: “excuse me mate, are you that cunt fae snow cunt”……………….you can’t make that sort of thing up.

  37. avatar

    i think we can agree that toad is wrong euan…..fact!!!!!

  38. avatar

    Or alternatively, you lot can go on about how edgy their lyrics are and what a brilliant indie album it is and how there are few better, seriously alternative albums released in Scotland this year and I can just sit here and titter ‘ha haha… SNOW PATROL!’ at you.

    What’s next, Travis?

  39. avatar

    get back to listening to jib kidder play his casio demo eh.

  40. avatar

    I would listen to that before I listened to Frightened Snow Rabbit Cold Patrol.

  41. avatar

    that is not even funny….humour can’t be forced Matthew

  42. avatar

    Snow Cunt is a much better name for a band than Snow Patrol.

    And far more appropriate.

  43. avatar

    i’d prefer Cunt Patrol

  44. avatar

    Frightened Cunt Patrol.

  45. avatar

    Matthew….shouted in a motherly tone

  46. avatar

    Sorry mate, but I honestly thought that album was going to be brilliant. I listened to it and just thought ‘oh’. In a flat, disappointed tone.

  47. avatar

    Here’s backing you up Mr Toad. Really can’t see what the fuss is about. FR sound like a bad Buffalo Tom in my opinion. Now they were a band who could write a catchy indie tune, but even they still weren’t exactly inspired themselves.

  48. avatar
    Campfires & Battlefields

    <blockquotea bad Buffalo Tom

    That may be the most vicious put-down I’ve ever heard on these storied pages. Why not call them a “slightly less engaging Soul Asylum” and have done! It’s too bad.

  49. avatar
    Campfires & Battlefields

    Oh fuck it.

    a bad Buffalo Tom

  50. avatar

    never hered of the bad buffalo tom…..only the fucking great one!!!!

    Soul asylum were awesome in their ealry days also

    fuck the lot of you music inbreds…..ha ha

  51. avatar

    Last night I repeatedly slammed my studio door on my cock while the manically rotating pedals of a bicycle, that had been upturned & rested on its handlebars & saddle, then placed betwixt my thighs, banged & slapped mercilessly against my balls.

    The noise I made as a result definitely sounded like Snow Patrol.

  52. avatar

    They aren’t that edgy, DC.

  53. avatar

    That wasn’t edge, believe me. It was the nearest I’ve ever got to speaking in tongues.

  54. avatar

    this emily scott is going to be at the bowery? i can see why you’d want to fly solo

  55. avatar

    As for the Weddoes slipping into the ordinary – Well, there’s one trrack that’s done very well on the third annual Festive 50 over at 17 Seconds….looking forward to Friday night SO MUCH!

  56. avatar

    Soul asylum were awesome in their ealry days also

    I never realised you had hearing problems, Tom. I’m ever so sorry to hear about it.

    Are you profoundly deaf, or do you just have some sort of tinnitus that prevents you hearing in the bland yank twaddle rock register?

  57. avatar

    To be fair I’d never really listened to Frightened Rabbit until last night, so I made a point of going to their MySpace and putting th etunes on there while I did the washing up.

    I washed up two wine glasses from Sunday night, my little grey saucepan, a plate and I think two mugs. They were my Star Wars ones, they’re great, they’ve got comic book scenes on them.

    Oh, and I think there was some music on…

  58. avatar

    Yes Ed, I’d agree that there’s always a couple of songs on every album that are really good, but ultimately I have been disappointed with the last three or four, including Cinerama. It doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm, of course.

    Yes Andy, that Emily Scott. She will be performing delicate folk songs whilst playing only on her g-string.

    Actually, I have heard some Soul Asylum which I like. I’ve only heard about four of their songs in total mind you, but New World and Sun Maid are good. They’re from that album that had the famous one on it in 1993.

  59. avatar

    First FR is really good, Dylan. From the second one I could pick four or five really good songs, but when you put the whole record on it tends to get mired in sludge a little. Separate those songs out, though, and they are brilliant.

  60. avatar

    two albums every home should have

    i doubt a that any of you have heard these 2 jems!!!!

  61. avatar

    Gems. As in precious stones.

    And no I haven’t. I think I definitely have to plead ignorance on Soul Asylum.

  62. avatar

    i don’t think there’s a fuss. it’s not like they’re selling out stadiums nor getting loads of radio airtime is it?? – they swear far too much for that. who is making the fuss?? i can’t speak for the band but i’m pretty sure their death cab support was one of their biggest shows to date. it’s not like everyone is shouting from the roof tops – frightened rabbit are amazing. it’s limited to scotland mainly – but then fuck it. we should be supporting our good scottish bands and there is no doubt that they are good – whether mr toad was disappointed by the new album or not, he loved the first one. which means he might love the next one. personally, i love midnight organ fight and I think they have the potential to be a stunningly good band. i’d be proud of the 2 albums they have released (in less than a year) if I was them. but then I could never write up beat pop. as for your comment dylan. pish posh.

  63. avatar

    as in precious full stop…..

    Back to FR….i find it hard to listen to first album now…..and the reasons are the same as yours Matthew, but in reverse….it has a good handful of top tunes but the sound annoys me…whilst the newer one is class from start to finish and the production is just stop on…..a true development in my eyes… terms of sound and song writing…..and for a while there I could stop listening to it…..just in the same way the Felice Brothers and Devotchka got me, right there, this year.

  64. avatar

    of course i meant couldn’t stop listening to it!!!

  65. avatar

    “whether mr toad was disappointed by the new album or not, he loved the first one.”

    And half the second one, to be fair. It’s definitely a cut above most things out this year, so for sure, I might end up loving the next record.

    As to Chutney Tom, it’s entirely possible I have more of a taste for really under-produced music than a lot of people. Certainly after listening to so many demos and so on I notice that happening to a degree.

  66. avatar

    I have more of a taste for really under-produced music than a lot of people.

    I think you do take it to an extreme sometimes, Matthew. I mean, some of the stuff you like does sound like it was recorded while the band played in the back of rusty Transit van with a dodgy muffler that was pullling doughnuts in a car park that was the other side of a mainline railway track from the recording studio.

  67. avatar


  68. avatar

    Mind you, a teaching colleague accused me of listening to stuff that was basically white noise. Think she meant Sunn o))) and Wolf Eyes…

  69. avatar

    Heheh! Matthew can take it Ed..

    He’ll be winding up for a killer comeback as we speak!

  70. avatar

    Actually, no. I have stated on many occasions that stuff recorded like that really appeals to me. No need for a comeback.

    Ed – try them on Yo La Tengo’s fifteen minute Mushroom Cloud of Hiss.

  71. avatar

    it’s not like the rest of us… over produced nonsense…

  72. avatar

    Except for Fri…okay, never mind, not going there. All I meant, Tom, is that I actively seek it out now. It’s not just about having an ability to hear a good song beneath a ropey recording, which I think most of my readers possess, it’s about actually having an active preference for it.

  73. avatar


  74. avatar

    oh i get it……i’m being slow……the office heating is set to ‘boil the eyes’

  75. avatar

    Yeah, I know that feeling Tom.

    Our office is currently at about gas mark six and has that toilet hand-dryer warm, dry smell about it.

  76. avatar


  77. avatar

    Although. Tom, I am worried about you going all Helen Keller on us, what your selective hearing regarding inconsequential American pap rock and now your boiled eyeballs

  78. avatar

    ouch……..just call me the pinball wizzard

  79. avatar

    Roy Wood and Wizzard more like…

  80. avatar

    what inconsequetial pap were you thinking about?

    and where are those photos!!!!

  81. avatar

    Not Roy Wood and Wizzard, obviously!

    One of the most significant British recording artists of the 1970s, a big infulence on Oasis apparently.

    Ah yes, photos. Not much of any use from Gimme Shelter regrettably. Evidentally it was a bit dark and I was drunk.

    Do you want some from other gigs and we can say they were from Gimme Shelter? Was anyone else there taking photos?.. Nic wasn’t taking photos that night – she was just drunk too.

  82. avatar

    Cathy took a few….with one or two being ok….we’ll see

  83. avatar

    For what it’s worth (not very much perhaps) I’m firmly in the “FR do not sound anything like Snow Patrol” camp. I don’t know how anyone can think they sound the same! It’s like comparing a boner and a sleeping penis: one penetrates and one doesn’t or one facilitates sex, orgasm and all that good stuff and the other facilitates urination. They’re the same in that they make music but one reaches places the other can’t, quite literally I suppose.

    Also, the second FR album is badly produced in terms of a polished sound in my opinion – there’s not very much that’s polished about it – its ramshackle if you ask me. The guitars sound wonderfully tinny and shit, the vocals are off in places, and it generally sounds amateurish in places – all in a very very good way – their music totally suits it. Its more produced than the first for sure, but that doesn’t mean its crap.

    Conversely, the recent Snow Patrol albums are compressed to within an inch of their life and autotuned to fck courtesy of JackKnife Lee or whatever he’s called. The same man that helped turn Bloc Party to sh*t (I liked album #1). He Pro-Tools everything to death.

    There we go, needed to get that off my chest. That’s my tuppence on the subject.

  84. avatar

    ‘mon the Rabbit!!!!!!

  85. avatar

    That Wascally Wabbit.

    I will not argue with anyone slagging off anything by Snow Patrol after When it’s All Over… which I still claim to be a good album – their best, in fact.

    Well maybe it’s not the production, then TT. Maybe it’s just the style. Maybe it’s just that half the tunes don’t appeal to me at all.

    And death to that Lee character. What a bozo. Bloc Party used to be good, I’m sure of it, but that last album was diabolical. And as for recent Snow Patrol… well it’s a bit late to say ‘don’t get me started’!

  86. avatar

    I want to do one of those mash-up tracks where they take two different songs and merge them together to make something new and wonderful.

    I would take Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol (Joke of the year!) and combine it with The Flying Pickets’ version of Only You.

  87. avatar

    Furry muff, that sounds fair and reasonable – you can’t argue with the subjectivity inherent in musical taste!

    I haven’t heard When Its All Over… but I did kind of like the second Reindeer Section album so when he’s not rolling out his anthemic template and trying to be bombastic, he can do something that’s a little more humble and appealing.

  88. avatar

    Reindeer Section = splendiferous. That’s something I think we can all agree on. Although you never fucking know around here. Why they hell he went back to Snow Patrol nonsense and completely abandoned Reindeer Section is an annoying, frustrating mystery.

  89. avatar

    Aww, I’m annoyed I missed this little party. I had lots to say. But it’s already been said.

  90. avatar

    I missed out on Reindeer Section first time around, so I’m just listening to the stuff on their MySpace page.

    Am I missing something?

    This is Gary Lightbody in the lead role as both performer and songwriter, right?

    Okay, so he’s got half of Scotland’s mainstream music scene on there in background roles, but they hardly seem to be stamping their authority on proceedings. They might as well just be session musicians, or indeed the other guys in Snow Patrol.

    Which is precisely what this sounds like to me.

  91. avatar

    Jesus fucking wept.

  92. avatar

    What am I missing then?

    What genuinely sets the Reindeer Section apart from the rest of Gary Lightbody’s work?

    And don’t just say “Oh, it’s got the guys from Arab Strap and Idlewild and whoever else on it.” Where have they left heir mark?

    The guy is a dull songwriter with a dull voice, and these are just a few more of his dull songs.

  93. avatar

    He is not, actually, a dull songwriter. He has at times in the past been capable of writing some excellent songs, even for Snow Patrol – just not as consistently as anyone who wants to be called a really good songwriter. The lightness of touch is what sets these apart – none of it descends into a sludgy indie punch-the-air-fest nor indeed a power ballad. The melodies, which are far stronger than anything he’s written for years, are set off by piano and a little bit of strings here and there, and some nice female duets. Basically, these were written back when his songwriting still had some legs, and they have been put together by people with some restraint and subtelty.

  94. avatar

    I’ll give you all of that. I can’t argue with any of those points. (I’ve yet to hear an excellent Gary Lightbody song, but if you say they exist I’ll let you past with it.)

    It’s not enough though, if you ask me.

    All of that merely lifts this stuff from crap up to mediocre.

  95. avatar

    What Matthew said.

    But I agree with you in terms of asking how the other musicians made their mark on it. They didn’t really, they just added some colour. What would you expect them to do though? Once the basic song is finished with chords structure and words then, unless you’re going to re-write his material, you’re going to make up your part, sing the words or add a harmony and that will be it. As Jeff Tweedy once said, every circle can only have one centre.

    I suppose it was really just a vehicle for Lightbody to try something different and get some wider recognition, which a super-group will achieve as it gives the press an angle. It was a very good idea in a few respects.

  96. avatar

    so still marginally better than james then dylan???!!

  97. avatar

    The Reindeer Section is nice. Nice, safe and, you know, alright. I never bother playing the albums these days. Because they’re nice, safe and, you know, alright.

    Velocity Girl was close to ‘excellent’, I thought. It may be dangerous to compare Snow Patrol (and I can see why a comparison to FR may piss people off). Surely, they should be judged as two different bands. Up to 2001 and after 2001.

    Just for the record, I think FR are doing some amazing things. I listen to them and think, ‘I’m a lucky person to be living while people are creating such art’. Does that sound over the top? I really do think that.

  98. avatar

    “Velocity Girl was close to ‘excellent’, I thought.”

    Bang. On. The. Money.

  99. avatar

    i personally couldnt give a shit which band is more second rate

    scantily clad aussie swimwear and one time lara croft model emiliy scott is going to be performing at the bowery. i personally didnt believe it until matt said it was so

    isnt that enough for you people….

  100. avatar

    God’s honest troof, guv’nor. Actually, the first time I wrote about our Emily Scott you wouldn’t believe the number of hits I got from people searching for Emily Scott with an assortment of variations on bikini, nude, model, babe and god knows what else in the search terms. I wasn’t getting many hits at all at that point either, so it really stood out. I was not best impressed.

  101. avatar

    where does everyone stand on the whole beatles versus the rolling stones debate?

  102. avatar

    Oh great, just what we need…

  103. avatar

    Beatles vs. Stones ; Overall prefer the Beatles, but the Stones made some great albums between1964 and 1972, it’s just that they got a little patchy here and there between 1973 and well, the present really. But there are some gems.

    I don’t see Reindeer section as being mainstream musicians; in fact when those two albums were made, the likes of Arab Strap, V-Twin etc..definitely weren’t. More to the point, Snow Patrol weren’t mainstream then. If it was really mainstream it would be Wet Wet wet, Texas, Hue and Cry and god forbid, Runrig…

  104. avatar

    so still marginally better than james then dylan???!!

    Well no, and I’m not getting into the “I’m a fan and you’re not” argument.”

    One thing you have to accept about James is that their musical achievements as a band were greater than the sum of their parts.

    Reindeer Section appear to be woefully less than the sum of theirs, even allowing for the band leader’s own shortcomings and limitations.

  105. avatar

    Listen to the albums. They’re really good. Safe folk-pop, as Gav says, is not an unfair allegation, but the tunes are a cut above that, and the arrangements are really nicely done.

    They are two excellent albums, and actually I hope they don’t reform because I sense only disappointment.

  106. avatar
    Tom (sexy....yeah!!!)

    Dylan shut up… you

  107. avatar
    Campfires & Battlefields

    two albums every home should have

    i doubt a that any of you have heard these 2 jems!!!!

    I actually owned Hang Time on cassette back during my undergraduate days. It was a time of experimentation and searching. The album spoke to me. Then I grew up and realized it sucked whole yummy dicks.

  108. avatar

    Did they help you get any sex…?*

    *Yes, yes, I know – it’s fucking rhetorical, alright.

  109. avatar
    Campfires & Battlefields

    Strange, but I’ve never heard either Snow Patrol or Reindeer Section. Are they musical combos of some kind?

  110. avatar
    Campfires & Battlefields

    The substance hadn’t been invented that could help me get sex at that particular time. You see, listening to Soul Asylum–which was sort of proto-grunge–caused me to neglect my toilette something fierce.

  111. avatar

    Snow Patrol are a shitty Radio 1 arse-fest who used to be really good, briefly, years ago. Gary Lightbody, their singer and main songwriter, also helmed something of a Scottish indie supergroup project, also years ago, called the Reindeer Section. The Reindeer Section included members of Arab Strap, Belle & Sebastian and so on and were really rather good, although nothing has been heard from them for years.

  112. avatar

    “The substance hadn’t been invented that could help me get sex at that particular time. ”

    Ah – pre-Rohipnol.

  113. avatar
    Campfires & Battlefields

    Alas, yes. Back then we had to rely on weed, charm, Van Morrison records, Old Spice and the crippling insecurity of our “prey.” Things are easier these days.

  114. avatar

    Oh Lord! How you lot go from FR to a limp cock to Snow Cunt to furry muff to Soul fucking Asylum is completely amusing. Just send that Emily over the pond and we’ll call it even for trudging through all this. (the weed was good back then, wasn’t it C&B?)

    And Matthew, how about a Friday Five on what actually did help you all get sex: music, dialogue, scent, substance etc?

  115. avatar

    Done! Excellent suggestion Tarticles.

  116. avatar

    Matthew… were up at 3am?

    and btw the way Soul fucking Asylum were top dog back in the day

  117. avatar

    Why yes. Yes I was. And now I am paying the price.

  118. avatar

    i got home…. and thought i fell face down on the bed (i’d been out since 5) but now i know i went on facebook and left stupid comments all over the place…..awesome….not

  119. avatar

    I have both hang time and the horse she road in on and concur with C&B. I also think that grave dancer’s union is a great album and unfairly criticised due to runaway train. if you skirt around that song – which is good in its own right – then it’s a really good album, without a trace being a stand out. great band.

    dylan – one thing you have to accept about james is that i hate them. no mix cd to could ever change that – which, by the way, I think I have lost……

  120. avatar

    By accident?

  121. avatar

    i’m past the point of concern…..

  122. avatar

    erm, yes, but i can’t say it is upsetting me or that i’ve looked for it.

  123. avatar

    Can I ask who actually bought the Snow Patrol debut when it came out, rather than in retrospect following their sudden rise to success after years of obscurity? And was it because they were on a Belle & Sebastian associated lable at the time or did you genuinely happen across them independent of any tenuous association?

    What you all have to remember is at that time a LOT of experimentation in music was taking place in Scotland (largely due to the attention shone upon B&S & their quirky rise to prominence) & the likes of Looper & Snow Patrol were in the belly of this creativity.

    The Reindeer Section were one of the very first multi-band/member experimental folk ensemble concepts &, to my mind, one of the least affected & genuinely talented of the bunch. I didn’t give a shit that it was Lightbody at the helm – I just loved the newness of what the band were doing. At the time there was hardly anything at all like this; it was fresh, subverting, & seemingly a very well kept secret. For ages I thought they were American – regardless of what the inlay card said – & was extremely pleased to find eventually out they were British/Scots. Songs like “Cartwheels” are fucking delicious.

    Sure, there is an inoffensive/’safe’ quality to their body of work as a whole, but I would argue this only holds water in retrospect. We have been spoiled with all the conscious & subconscious copycats & sound-a-likes since their albums came to be. By comparison their gentle, uni-directional, multi-layered folk pop seems tame whehn compared to the kitchen sink bands we’re all now so familiar with.

    With all that said, I don’t think they’d have made such an overall impact on me were they to ‘happen’ now rather than back in ’01.

  124. avatar

    I bought the first Snow Patrol album at the time for two reasons. Firstly, I liked the cover, with the little model people in the grass, and secondly because they were, as you say, on Jeepster. I didn’t expect a soundalike, but I did think that the label must have at least half a clue if they had released B&S, so I took a chance. It’s patchy as hell, Songs for Polar Bear, but there is still some really good stuff on it.

    All that Reindeer Section stuff is bang on. People forget that we’re ten years down the alt-folk route now, and collectives have been all the rage for five years, but someone had to start it and they were there or there abouts back when this stuff was first being (re)invented.

  125. avatar

    the truth is i didn’t even know about Snow Patrol until the Last Straw (which i do rate as good album)….was a aware of and loved the Reindeer Section from the off…….funny old world?

  126. avatar

    When it first came out I actually viewed The Last Straw as their frustrated “fuck it all” final album (before pulling the plug) after a fair amount of obscurity/lack of under/middle/over/anyground success. Ironic, then, that it’s the one that loaded their slingshot to fame.

  127. avatar

    I went to the same uni as Snow Patrol who actually used to be called Polar Bear and saw them on numerous occasions in Dundee before they even recorded the first album.

  128. avatar

    What were they like back then, Euan? Their first album has way more bite than anything since, so I guess they could have been really good.

    DC – In what way a ‘fuck it all’ statement? Just abandoning the indie aesthetic because you can’t get anywhere without being a little ambitious, or something else?

  129. avatar

    “fuck it all” in the sense of packing it all in once they’d milked the albums relevance (release/single/tour). To me it sounded like a last gasp without any hope of reward.

  130. avatar

    On what basis? I’m not disagreeing, it’s just the first time I’ve heard anyone express this opinion. I mean Final Straw, as an album title, makes sense but I’ve just never looked at the album that particular way.

  131. avatar

    i think that is what the band themselves said at the time….

  132. avatar

    Seriously? Bollocks, I had no idea.

  133. avatar

    They were edgy, a bit ropey, sometimes good, sometimes awful uni students.

  134. avatar

    yeah, i remember reading a couple of interviews around that time……..

  135. avatar

    did someone just delete a post or were my eyes playing tricks?

  136. avatar

    You need to get outside more. Like DC said. He’s a very caring individual, under that caustic, slightly deranged exterior.

  137. avatar

    Hey! Where did my post go?

  138. avatar

    what post

  139. avatar

    Final Straw – so named because of the song ‘Chocolate’ s chorus ‘This is the straw, final straw…’

    I bought the first two albums in 2002, on the basis of a song on a compilation tape ‘Never Gonna Fall In Love’ and still haven;t bought the follow-up albums.

  140. avatar

    dylan – you smell!!!

  141. avatar

    At least I don’t love Snow Patrol like everyone else round here!

  142. avatar

    Ed – I always assumed that was where the name came from, but I’d never thought of it as more meaningful than that. If you have their first two, then I’d suggest you probably don’t need anything else by them. When It’s All Over is really good, and I don’t think they’ve matched it before or since, honestly. Mind you, in the dowload era it’s pretty easy to find out for yourself. Chasing Cars was dreadful though, and I haven’t bothered to listen to the recent one.

  143. avatar

    I thought that is sounded like an album devoid of pressure, like they had nothing to prove or lose. Therefore the sound was looser, their attitude & playing genuinely angry & the overall feel was just an entirely different band – kind of relieved in a way, but ‘listen to us – we’re a good fucking band & you’ve missed your opportunity’. That’s what I took from it at the time (nothing to do with the title) & still think that. There’s a marked progression from the first two albums & I think it’s their best effort purely on the basis that is was an eloquent suicide note.

  144. avatar

    Very nicely expressed, DC. I prefer When It’s All Over, obviously, but I’ve never heard Final Straw described so sympathetically before. Makes me want to go home and stick it on the stereo, that does.

  145. avatar

    Cheers Toad.

    It’s a strange business, I suppose. I remember when the Jo Whiney-endorsed ads started appearing on ITV declaring them the best new British band & Final Straw the best album of the year blah di blah & I thought ‘o well, there goes their credibility- they’ll be jimcrowed into the Travis/Coldplay coffee table pigeon hole now & nothing good will come of it’.

    I wonder if they then naturally progressed into the frappachino-lite they now knock out or they saw it as a career/direction move worth risking in order to shift units & remain relevant to the irrelevant music buying masses? It would have beena good album to end on, but as it is…

  146. avatar

    I have to say – my wife absolutely loved final straw when it came out and when i first heard some of the tunes on zane lowe’s session i was impressed. it’s the shit that has followed since that really gets me down. how to be dead is still a brilliant tune.

  147. avatar

    i’ve lived ‘How to be dead’ some many times……

  148. avatar

    i listened to when everything….this morning on the bus and the comparison to frightened rabbit – other than the odd word prenounciation still baffles me mr toad. i just don’t hear it!

  149. avatar

    I was thinking more Final Straw and Midnight Organ Fight.

Leave a Reply