True Gents are a Perthshire-based band who describe themselves as indie/pop/psych/folk-rock, an impressive size at eight or ten members consisting of Tobe Jeffrey & Euan Nicol (songwriting/guitar/vocs), Rosemary Stanford & Rea Pirnie (backing vocs/percussion), Stu Bennet (electric guitar), Ian Scobie (accordion/keys), Kieron Toole (drums), Owen Toole (bass) and Dave Macfarlane and Abi Pibworth playing fiddle and piano respectively (on occasion). I have gratefully received their new album ‘Blood Moon’ so let’s see what they have to offer…
…Good, choppy guitar licks make this album appeal to me immediately, and it just gets better when the rolling thunder of the drums introduces a folk section to my ears, I’m expecting a gruff, hoarse vocal but I get instead a clear, high, vocal that works just as well. A good folksy homegrown Scottish feel so far, not unlike The Waterboys, who are one of my top 5 fave bands ever! So a great start! Breakdowns and key changes keep my attention, and I like the sort of wah-wah feel of the guitar. The song gets even stronger as the vocs go deeper for a bridge accompanied by a serene female voice that really rounds it all off brilliantly.
A nice wee guitar riff starts the next lament, with nice lyrics and a sentimental feel, harmonious and embracing, but that’s all just an illusion, because the song jerks in hard about halfway to make sure you’re still paying attention and then plays you out with a lovely melody that is, I think, performed expertly on a fiddle. There’s a dark undercurrent to the song that gives it its depth.
I turn my back and close the curtains, darkening the room and lighting a joint to further appreciate an album that seems to have potential, maybe a wee cold Scrumpy too…
Ah yes, that’s better, now I can really settle into the music, ‘Blood Moon’, the title track, is all a title track should be – a standout song. I’ve definitely got the urge to see this band live, sounds like some good-time rock-and-roll to be best enjoyed loud in a seedy venue somewhere in Scotland between pints and whiskeys, and with that thought, I down my can and amp the volume on my Bose up a bit, and the music conspires with the alcohol to give me a warm feeling. There’s a host of accomplished musicianship on this record to be getting your ears around, and the band don’t rest on their laurels, the music rolls and develops and progresses in its river of sound. The song could have went on for another verse, as I was still enjoying it when it came to its abrupt end.
‘Camomile’ is as soothing as the tea it shares its name with when it starts brewing with its slow intro and boat-creaking feel. But now the camomile tea has become mushroom tea as things get a little more psychedelic, albeit in a celtic sort of way with sinister strokes of the fiddle’s strings and an Ian McCulloch style vocal deliverance (chrissakes Chris, can’t you do one review without a drugs reference!?). I really liked that song, I think it might be my favourite one so far, and I’m gonna’ listen to it again right now. A beautifully sinister, seductive, trippy track.
‘Girl in a Cave’ has a more indie sound than the rest of the record, a record which I would describe (if I had to pin it to a genre) as folk-rock. This offering has a more Verve-like feel to it, the vocals are good, and it crashes along into a cacophony of swooping and sense-tingling sounds. I think I might like this album as tripping music too, but I’ve no mushrooms, I ate them during my Well Happy Band review. The song has its (characteristic of the True Gents now) heavy parts to keep you alert and entertained, adopting the quiet/loud/quiet/loud approach that many a great band have utilised. I always like it when they apply the female vocals, as they work really well in their way of creating symphonious backing that complement the lead nicely but don’t overstep it, a tightly balanced band.
It’s a good vintage sound that the True Gents have, one that’s not applied enough these days. And it’s good drinking music, good tripping music, good live music, multi-instruments, and original songs, so that ticks enough boxes to please me and earn my attention and approval. I’ve enjoyed every track and endeavour now to see the band at a show and get the full experience.
‘Lightnin’ is a tune I was struck by, cracking little ditty that comes out of nowhere as an unexpected penultimate track. It even borders on some sort of rockabilly punk that’s stirring my old punk heart into a rousing jig, but it’s definitely rock & roll anyway, and a Trongate Rum Riots style sea-shanty-feel to it, a great wee track, my new favourite on the record!
Is this dark enough for you my friend? What? You talking to me? Well I thought it was a little dark in parts, but I wouldn’t describe it as dark, in fact, it’s quite joyous… Out on the moors… Oh, you mean this track, ‘The Moors’, yeah, it is quite dark, I like the tribal drums, it reflects the feel of the moors anyway if that’s what you were going for? A poignant, progressive, moody track with soaring Gilmour-esque guitar licks and nice, ghostly, spooky backing vocs (yes, like the moors). A brilliant track to cap off a good album that I can recommend to anyone now.
A band I now need to see live, I may have already, but if I did, I was heavily inebriated and will have to again, as they pack a pretty fucking good punch. Check out their Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/thetruegents/
Check out some tunes here: https://soundcloud.com/truegents
A video for the superb song ‘Lightnin’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dA845cZjnc
And check them out live on May 5th at the Gig Room in Perth.
And I’ll seeya’ I the pit! The moonlight leads me on… Is this happiness I feel?…
C T Herron
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