A number of years ago, I went to see Neil Young at the Playhouse in Edinburgh. This review has nothing to do with Neil Young though. Other than Aidan Moffat was also in attendance at that show. And at that show he performed a manoeuvre that I’ve never seen work before or since. And he did it with such ease and effortlessness.
Basically, the queue for the men’s toilets during the interval was quite significant. I had been standing in said queue for about 10 minutes and was close to the front when I noticed Aidan Moffat wandering up the stairs. As he did so, he assessed the length of the queue then, without anyone noticing (apart from me obviously) he slipped right in at the front. It was one of the smoothest and sneakiest things I’ve witnessed and rather than piss me off, made me smile because only somebody like Aidan Moffat could pull off such a manoeuvre. Quite how others didn’t notice this conspicuous fellow I will never know but it still makes me smile.
With ‘I Can Hear Your Heart’ Moffat produced one of the most original and stunning pieces of music I have heard in many a year. So his follow up record, packed with proper songs and music, for me, felt like a massive let down. I guess it was always doomed to failure. Not avant-garde enough. Not alternative enough. Don’t get me wrong. For what it is, it’s good. But I have come to expect more from Aidan Moffat. A master with words and language, it’s the interplay between this and the music that has always grabbed me most when it works. This is achieved when the music is less full on and more of a backing. A canvas for the words, as was the case with ‘I Can Hear Your Heart’.
Well, this is simply stunning. A record that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as ‘I Can Hear Your Heart’. Confirmation that Aidan Moffat is still one of the, if not the, most important Scottish artist out there at the moment. This is no solo record however. The contribution by Bill Wells should be over looked at its peril.
Wells creates beautiful soundscapes and backing to Moffat’s tales. At it’s best the two are sublime. A partnership made in heaven. The opening beauty of instrumental ‘Tasogare’ drifts in to ‘Let’s Stop Here’, a tale of a changed man tempted once again by his first love who has reappeared in his life. All set to lovely rolling piano it’s the perfect introduction to what really is a special record. It’s not all beautiful piano lines though as on ‘Glasgow Jubilee’ Moffat starts his tale of sordidness with a prostitute and soldier to some funky bass and synth. The journey that follows takes us through a plethora of sexual encounters and all the way back to the whore. It really is a brilliant piece of narrative, set to the perfect music. And I think that that is what makes this record special. Every piece of music and every tale told combine to create something absolutely awesome.
As a whole, this record just makes me happy. But ‘The Copper Top’ is, in my opinion, one of the most complete and assured pieces of music I’ve heard in a very long time. The music and the words move me in the way music should. This whole record does that though because again Moffat has come up trumps. With Wells in tow I really don’t think he could fail. You have got to check this record out. You can do so here. Enjoy.