Doubtlands | SMS – 4/10/20

Mt DoubtDoubtlands

Goodness me, another album already? As head of the Edinburgh alt rock collective Mt Doubt, Leo Bargery has to be one of the most prolific musicians in the entire Scottish scene.

I swear, it seems like every time I look away for a minute, he’s come out with yet another record for audiences to gladly indulge in, and now we’ve got his latest – Doubtlands.

68th In Orbit commences it off firmly with this lovely balance of pristine acoustic and electric chords that helm the tender melody, and through Leo’s gracious, broad-ranged voice, his words set a nice picture with an appeasing atmosphere to it.

That mood is affirmed well as the group move into the lead single, Caravans On A Hill, perking up the energy a touch and sinking in with some affectionately memorable lyrics.

Yawn When I Do is so radiant and embracing in tone, and the instrumentally laminated Waiting Rooms shines gloriously with a grand sense of scale, continuing to keep you mesmerised by the pure, heartfelt lyrics.

Murmurations is a brief, light ditty where Annie gets her chance to take centre stage, then we return to the full-form content with Headless, chocked with life as it squeezes in so much, such as these wonderful harmony hooks, solid drum beats and ravishing sax solos, and Stairwell Songs more or less follows suit on that note whilst effectively capturing a feeling of loneliness.

Dark Slopes Away definitely changes the ambience with a more conspicuously rougher, ominous vibe to it, but this only ups your focus and gets you all the more intrigued and has you hanging on the notable writing, especially of the packing chorus.

Eshaness makes an astounding impression with its definitive synths, harsher riffs, and an overall weightier rhythm than ever before. As a matter of fact, this could very well be the highlight, and they utilise the momentum from it to charge forth into the tremendous climax, Peaks Of Wreck.

You’d think with so much music being spouted out within a short period of time that it would grow stale, but Mt Doubt somehow find a way to ensure that this is not the case.

Doubtlands goes beyond fresh, it’s undeniably the best work that the band have produced to date, being a cinematic-calibre experience that wows and provokes you in many ways as it goes before leaving you fulfilled after a dramatic and sensational finish.


The Girl Who Cried WolfOut Of It

Glasgow pop duo The Girl Who Cried Wolf were kind enough to supply a surprise EP with a few days notice, just in time for another one of Bandcamp’s blessed Fridays – Out Of It.

The title number kicks off with neat, deep-bass instrumentals, before Lauren enters the fray with a back-and-forth series of sublime harmonies and sharp spoken-word threads. She’s really forthright in her delivery, and that intensity is particularly reflected in the second half.

The dark and haunting Undone is easily one of the pair’s best songs ever, with the potent lyrics relating harsh mental battles with an abusive opposer to a boxing match; the writing touching upon the punches being taken and the bruises being caused as a result.

Wake Up has a ravishing sound and is pushed by light yet dynamically swift drum beats, Grubby is another gritty, hard-edged cut that is relentlessly confrontational, and so damn effectively so, and At The End Of It All goes in a more positive direction with a showering of kind and loving words.

Their previous two releases have been satisfying, but The Girl Who Cried Wolf may have just topped themselves. While some of their past content may be more memorable and mainstream-friendly, they really take their music to richer, sophisticated levels here, making a broad effort to get across emotionally resonating messages that hit you hard in the mind and soul.


GodNo!Too Much Future

Just the other week, I had a surprise delivery come through the letterbox with a pair of records from the always-dependable Reckless Yes label. One was the Too Much Future EP from Derby collective GodNo, who I had vague memories of talking positively about before, so with confidence, I stuck it on and was treated to something really nice.

They roll in with Unholy Water, which shines with this somewhat odd, vexing tone that heightens your intrigue and locks you in while the song proceeds with a solid chorus, among other things. Canada Goose bumps up the intensity, rocking with good distorted guitars, fresh vocals and an infectious wavy melody mixed with such contagious lyrics.

Hulk follows suit but with a significantly harder edge to it as well as more attention-grabbing writing, and it certainly goes a little off the rails towards the end, and delightfully so. A forceful battering of drums signals the final track Short Shrift which is, needless to say, a ruddy fine display of passionate kookiness, complete with an insanely addictive hook, that caps off the record on a buzz.

Of course when you mould together a line-up of members from other awesome acts, you expect quality material, and this is exactly that. GodNo’s first outing is a brief yet jolly and crazed rush with a tonne of replay value to give you more bang for your buck.


SMS #6 | Walt Disco – Young Hard And Handsome

Oh lordy lordy, I’ve been buzzing for this one to come out for ages. Within the post-punk realm of the Scottish scene, very few have matched up to the glory of Glasgow ensemble Walt Disco; the peeps quickly carving themselves a solid legacy over the last couple of years or so, and this leads us to the release of their brand spanking new EP – Young Hard And Handsome.

A sparkling wave of electric organs greet us to Hey Boy, a devilishly catchy and stirring track that hops along to a broad, thundering beat, sinking into the brain with simple yet contagious as heck lyrics and an effective group session of harmonies driving the jamming melody.

But the hysteria only escalates to an unfathomable degree with the pure awesome Cut Your Hair, defined by some deep, sexy bass chords and addictively snappy synths of various shapes and sizes. The chorus is an energetic blast, and James’ frisky, insanely far-reaching voice is truly something to behold.

Not ones to let the party die down, the band keep the pace up with the juicy I’m What You Want, loaded with a multitude of layered overdub hooks that raise the scale, and it’s hoisted up all the more by a perfect blend of great guitar work and top notch drumming.

And lastly is the euphorically gorgeous Heather, which is so soft and blissful in its tone, characterised by this heavenly atmosphere, but the real highlight comes from the beautifully caring and affectionate writing; the best and most mature on this record by a mile; and the singing again is as fantastic as it gets.

You couldn’t have asked for anything more flawless than what Walt Disco have delivered here. Young Hard And Handsome is a supreme achievement, a rare feat in producing a collection of songs that are perfect and employ their own unique elements to ensure they stand out from the pack while still ensuring they collectively make a long-lasting impact.

This may very well be the best EP in all of 2020, and one of the best records of the year as a whole, for that matter. It’s a sheer delight, and Walt Disco have massive things to look forward to in the not too distant future.


SMS #5 | The Roly Mo – TRM

The ongoing pandemic might have put a complete damper on the music industry in 2020, but that hasn’t stopped Glasgow boys The Roly Mo from continuing on the scorching hype train that they’ve been riding for the better part of the last year.

The quartet have worked their backs off to ensure they are on the map as one of Scotland’s most promising acts, and they’ve done a bang up job living up to that with their superb debut TRM EP.

They bash out the gates in walloping fashion with She’s So Hot, sprinting through at a pace so mental that there’s barely any room to squeeze the vocals in between the blaring riffs and frantic rhythm section. Now that they have us hooked in, they ease it up for Diamond Doll, which is carried through by these not so subtly thick, ringing beats, proceeding at a steady tempo and delivering pretty solid writing.

The energy is rolled back up for Count To Ten, a standard yet still entertaining and memorable enough indie rock cut, but then comes Stuck In A Rut, and holy bejesus, talk about a blinder. The guys go thoroughly all in off the charts with an electrifying tune that is fast, furious, and openly aggressive, especially through the provocative, unyielding singing.

The mayhem only continues on with I’ll Be Happy When You Die, and the coarsely bitter tone perfectly matches the title, and the lyrics as a whole for that matter, wilfully dripping with rugged punk influences, and wrapping things up is the catchy, bounding Control Yourself.

A mighty impressive effort from The Roly Mo produced with high expectations that have been lived up to with ease. There’s a reason they are accumulating a rising fanbase, there’s a reason they are earning national airplay, and there’s a reason that websites and publications from all corners have showered them with praise – they are damn fine at what they do.