SMS #96 | Dale McPhail – McPhailure


In the first tune Bin, Dale catches a man digging through rubbish for cigarette butts and sharing drugs with his love, but instead of shunning, he considers their situation and hopes they can make it through their seemingly hard times, really nice and grown up of him. A/B sees him appreciate his marriage and laugh at the common notion that being married should always be a negative experience for whatever reason, but its total nonsense as Dale makes clear, it’s worth it, no regrets.

He displays his loving efforts in Flatter; the scatting towards the end is a neat bonus; and upon reflection in Start, he vows to recover from a slip, begin afresh, and avoid wasting time, especially as he isn’t a young stud these days, time is catching up scarily quick, so he needs to make the most of life and his love now, it’s very heartfelt and hits the core. Busy nails the pressure of when work overcomes you and leaves you an exhausted stressful wreck; you really get that vibe through the snappy pace of the chorus; and in turn causing you to stray from the sources of happiness and entertainment in life.

Town goes in an unexpectedly angry and embittered direction, with Dale firing back at those who just don’t get him and think they know everything about him, unaware of how difficult it was for him growing up and the umpteen mental plights he endures in the present, and despite what they apparently think, he actually is trying and pushing through day by day, so the moral of the story is not to judge others at face value and immediately assume everything is tip top and easy for them. In a similar sense with Box, Dale details how rough the daily process can be, and he just prays that the next day turns out more positive, and he promises to stick by and never leave who and what matters most in Watermelon.

Joey is a surprisingly emotional and heart-warming tale about a giraffe who performs at the circus but is put through so much pain and becomes overwrought, thus he breaks free of his chains and gains his freedom, so a happy ending for the poor animal, and to finish is Penicillin, where Dale just wants to lock himself away and be alone in order to recuperate and mend himself, because the world has gotten too much, which I think we can agree is something that hits close to home for many of us.

McPhailure was a big out of nowhere surprise for me, the songs are very simple in style, these basic anti-folk type tunes with consistently great guitar playing I might add, the writing throughout is incredibly fascinating and fixating, it’s all so personal and intimate and I regularly, if not always, finding myself clicking with his lyrics, it connected strongly with me, and with every listen I’m left complete and fulfilled. Dale’s something else, and I’d love to see him emerge as a greater fixture in the Scottish scene, because man, his music definitely holds value.

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