Well over a year ago I first spoke to David Moyes, lead singer for The Scottish Enlightenment. At that point the bands myspace page was out of date and they had been in hiding for quite some time. I had been trying to get them to play Trampoline for some time without success and I decided to take another stab at it. New tunes had crept on to the radar on their website, such as ‘Necromancer’, and what I heard I loved. I also suggested to David that the songs on myspace should be changed to the more up to date tunes, something a bit more representative of their current sound. And I finally managed to convince them to play Trampoline at last December’s all day event. Sadly, most people in the city decided to attend the closing down of the Bowery party (yep, celebrating the closing of a venue, the irony is not lost on me) and so they played to a skeleton crowd that evening. Quite simply, anyone who witnessed that performance, like myself, could not fail to be blown away. I immediately asked them if they’d play The Kays album launch in Edinburgh this year – even though we had not booked any dates at that time. That’s how much I loved that show and performance. So, having heard them live and heard the new tunes seeping out I was very excited about them releasing their debut album in 2010.
First of all though came 2 eps. The Pascal EP impressed me majorly. The Little Sleep EP however was, for me, a disappointing follow up. Despite this, my hopes and expectations for this album remained high, having heard many of the tunes at their live shows already.
I’m delighted to say that I have not been disappointed in the slightest by this album. Far from it in fact. The Scottish Enlightenment are quite simply a band to get excited about. A band for Scotland to be proud of. Yes, there are serious nods in direction towards their main influences, but they are no wannabes. They have their own identity and this record is packed with interest, diversity and quality song writing.
Despite not enjoying the last EP, title track ‘Little Sleep’ is an excellent tune. Marching drums drive the track on as Moyes sings “all we need’s a little sleep and we’ll be fine”…you have no idea how relevant that has felt this past week. ‘Pascal’ is a recognisable beauty from The Pascal EP but ‘Necromancer’ was held back from previous releases and is a brilliant tune – probably the album stand out for me – with a stunning guitar build…incidentally not played on guitar live! It’s on tracks like ‘Necromancer’, ‘List Right’ and the quite simply gorgeous ‘Soft Place’ that The Scottish Enlightenment really shine. Oh and ‘My Bible Is’, is another cracking track. In fact, there’s nothing I really want to criticise about this record at all.
I love the honesty in the lyrics of this album. I like the fact that there is no ego to The Scottish Enlightenment, quite possibly the nicest, most unassuming bunch of guys I’ve ever met through music. I like this band very, very much. The guitar swells. The interesting bass lines. The perfectly delivered lazy vocals. Quite simply this, along with The Phantom Bands ‘The Wants’, is one of the stand out albums by Scottish artists in 2010. Do yourself a favour and make sure you invest your time and money in The Scottish Enlightenment. Check them out here. Enjoy.