Skibunny - Hugs
I'll be honest. Whenever I get an album from "promoters, remixers, DJs", it doesn't bode well for a review on Kowalskiy. That kinda music is just not usually my thing. Every-so-often though, the odd one comes along that does strike a chord with me. Hugs, the debut from Edinburgh/Belfast's Skibunny, is an album packed full of them. Kicking things off is the chilled-out electropop of recent single Aah Ooh which draws comparisons with The Postal Service, while edgier disco anthems Up Down, Walk Don't Walk and Stand Up are reminiscent of Sweden's finest, The Sounds. There's half a dozen or so choruses on this album that'll haunt your every, waking hour! Guest appearances from The Go! Team and Maps cap off a great album and show Skibunny have already made friends in high places. I'm sure they'll be making a few new friends off the back of this album too.
The Scottish Enlightenment - Little Sleep EP
I had every intention of featuring this on time, I really did! Sorry guys! Anyhoo, The Scottish Enlightenment's follow-up to their acclaimed Pascal EP is now out, and like its predecessor, it's turning quite a few heads. The opening, title track grabs your attention straight away from its anthemic White Lies-esque intro to its brooding, endless post-rock guitar close. Things are relaxed a notch or two with the cracking Get My Limousine, a sly dig at the seeming ease of fame these days which takes time to name-check two judges from a certain Saturday night talent show! It's the 7-minute atmospheric epic When You Hate Me though which stands out for me. All-in-all, this is how an EP should be. Each track contributes something a little bit different and all add up to create a cracking, understated post-rock EP! Plus, at 5-tracks it's the ideal size.... in my completely unbiased opinion!
The Last Battle - Heart Of The Land, Soul Of The Sea
Last, but by no means least, is something a wee bit special from Edinburgh's The Last Battle. Recently, just about every Scottish music blog and more than a few other sites have been heaping praise on the sextet's debut album Heart Of The Land, Soul Of The Sea. I'll be no different! The latest band to emerge from Scottish's incredible alt-folk 'scene' well-and-truly stand out from the pack. Tracks like Ruins and personal favourite Nature's Glorious Rage are up there with the best examples of what this all-encompassing genre has produced lately. The opening and closing title tracks paint the picture of two star-crossed lovers, a theme which is present throughout this stunning album. The heartbreaking Soul Of The Sea has to be the most perfect ending to any album this year. A gorgeous, gentle build up into dreamlike harmonies capped off by the unmistakable vocals of the wonderful Neil 'Meursault' Pennycook. Just stunning! With any luck, 2011, if not 2010, will be the year of The Last Battle.