Two things are abundantly clear at Cabaret Voltaire on this wet and windy Saturday night.
1. The turn out for My Latest Novel is fairly disappointing for a band on their 2nd album
2. The band deserve so much more attention and a much bigger audience to hear their tunes.
“We were shite the last time we played in Edinburgh” mutters frontman Chris Deveney. “We’ll try and be better tonight”. This is something which I’ve been told numerous times by friends about My Latest Novels live sound. It can be hit and miss. I saw them for the first time at the Liquid Rooms last year supporting Frightened Rabbit and I have to say my experience was not all that bad. Mind you, Mr Toad, Chutters and I had already had a fair amount of booze by the time we got to the venue and whilst I enjoyed their set and it made me want more, both of them dismissed it as “shit”. However, I bought and fell in love with their debut album ‘Wolves’ before this years ‘Death and Entrances’ came along and firmly placed itself in my top albums of the year. What I love about this band is how much is happening when they play. The album is packed with vocal harmonies, with interesting instrumentation and with layer upon layer of texture. At times they soar filling the space with harmonies, guitars, violin and tons of atmosphere. At others the delicacy and simplicity of the band is wonderous. I love their albums and was intrigued to see how the band could make their intricate soundscapes work in then live arena. It’s not easy having 4 vocals going on, believe me. Not many bands are brave enough to use so many vocal parts. If there is one thing that can go wrong it is vocal harmonies and if they go wrong they can go so wrong as to ruin a live performance. And if you ask me, this is perhaps where My Latest Novel may have struggled in the past (This is of course just conjecture given my lack of experience of them live). Their vocal harmonies are not exactly simple ones. So being brave enough to go for it live is comendable in itself. Making it work is an art all in itself, especially when so much else is happening.
After last nights gig I must admit that I am completely baffled by the doubters. This band are brilliant. I don’t get excited about Scottish bands all that often. There is so much good music in Scotland at the moment but not many artists that make me think – “yes, this is brilliant.” I truly got that feeling last night listening to My Latest Novel. From the opening noise leading into ‘All In All In All Is All’ to set closer ‘If The Accident Will’ this was an accomplished performance. Sure, the vocals don’t always get nailed. It’s not easy. But I’ve definitely changed my opinion about the vocals since my first experience. At that time, I said it was strange that the worst singer was the lead singer. However, Chris Deveney proved me wrong last night. He’s not the worst singer. He has a fascinating voice. It’s deep and rich. And I do believe that when notes are missed it is the simple fact that when you sing deep it’s so much easier to go out of tune, as the vocal gets lost in the music a little and you can’t hear all that well when on stage. But they missed rarely last night and for the most part the combination of the 3 male vocals and 1 female vocal was sensational. This really was a great live performance to match any other band in Scotland.
Under rated? Definitely! These guys are so so so good. I’m not one for arguing about other peoples taste. Taste is taste. You either get something or you don’t. I just wish more people got My Latest Novel because not only have they produced one of my albums of the year, last night they delivered one of my gigs of the year. And I can confirm for Deveney that they were not “shite” – far far from it. Love them. If you’ve never heard them, please check them out here. I’d highly recommend ‘I Declare A Ceasefire’. Absolutely sensational last night. Enjoy.