ANNIE BOOTH – Spectral
Take a shot for every time that we’ve mentioned Annie Booth as one of our favourite Edinburgh artists, and you’ll most likely be dead. After initially seeing her as part of Mt Doubt, she really made us fans with the release of her 2017 album An Unforgiving Light, which is still a big favourite of ours to this day.
A couple of years on, and she is set to return to the fray with her brand new Spectral EP, which we cheekily picked up a physical copy of at Last Night From Glasgow’s 3rd birthday bash.
Unlike her debut record, which was a full production with a band to boot, Annie goes in a more straightforward, minimalist direction this go around, but this proves to be in no way a negative. In fact, given the content here, it’s beneficial.
Lead single Magic 8 sets the mood very effectively, being a graceful tune that gets us sucked in with such stunning lyrics. The masterful Mirage is on another plane entirely, drifting along with delicate acoustics backed by haunting ambient sounds, and Annie, particularly at the chorus, gets legitimate tingles running down the spine with her fiercely eerie voice.
But it doesn’t end there, as that aura remains a constant in Spill, with Annie keeping us fixated with her harmonies while a wonderful performance is delivered on the piano, and the grip is tightened all the more proceeding into the final number, Spiralling, and the writing is again so magnetic and so provoking, and the song continues to build to a strong apex, before fading to silence.
It has to be said that it is very, very rare for a record to leave us totally speechless, but that is exactly what happened the first time we experienced Spectral, and multiple listens later, it never fails to leave us with a similar feeling.
This is a flawlessly crafted, utterly gorgeous EP that has truly captured our imagination like nothing else, helmed by one of the country’s most raw and humble talents, and it will undoubtedly stand as a major pinnacle of 2019, not just within the Scottish scene but in underground music as a whole. Nothing less than a slice of perfection that earns an easy five stars.
***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 10TH MAY***
There were few acts that made a bigger impact on us over the course of 2018 than Glaswegian electropop quartet L-Space, who blew us away with their debut album Kipple Arcadia, one of our top picks of that year, and perhaps ever.
But we didn’t need to wait long for the group to quench our thirsts for more, as they have been quick to curate another album, although they’ve decided to take a completely different direction.
Dubbed “an instrumental score for a city that doesn’t exist yet”, the final result is Music For Megastructures”, where we get a compilation of 20 numbers, most of which are brief in length, together forming a soundtrack that is seeping with this rich, immersive atmosphere with a dainty futuristic tinge that is easy to get enveloped in.
Each of the songs are generated by a mixture of dazzling synths, gleaming keys, juicy bass tones and solid drum beats, and they tackle a range of styles – at one moment, being buoyant and full of life, and at another more mild and sombre – which allows for some variety, although admittedly it can get a little repetitive in spots, particularly as they progress towards the end.
While lacking in a lot of the qualities that give L-Space their unique identity, such as great riffs, ethereal vocals and especially their outstanding in-depth writing, this is nonetheless an intriguing little experiment that makes for an enjoyably lucid experience.
We’ve been keen supporters of Greenock alternative rock outfit Banshee as far back as 2013 when we became acquainted with them under their original Life On Standby guise, but it wasn’t until 2016 after a change of name where they set a whole new standard with their superb Say My Name EP, which has aged so finely.
In the 3 years since, they continued to further establish their live presence, as well as treat us to a couple of singles here and there, but over a month ago, we finally got what we were truly wishing for: another record, that being Bubble.
They get the gears swiftly into motion with the exuberant title track, radiating with such a profuse pulse that is excelled by the stiff rhythm from Liam and Gianluca, and livened up by Erin’s persistently supreme voice, and the energy flows well into Frenemies, dotted by pretty good vocal hooks.
The awesome You Said is up next, highlighted by a punchy, catchy as all hell chorus and damn cool guitar work, and this leads nicely into the closing Erased, which has become the sleeper song of sorts on this. It hits a whole new level of maturity for the group writing-wise, being defined by lovely lyrics that really resonate and are brought to life by the beautiful harmonies.
We’ve indulged in this EP many a time since it first came out, and we can say without hesitation that this is not only a staggering follow-up to their previous effort, but easily one of the best Scottish records to have emerged this year so far.
United by an unparalleled chemistry, the four put absolutely everything into Bubble, and it’s clear as day to anybody who has the luxury in giving it a listen, and then another, and another…