Verse Metrics - VM1
With all the recent festivities and my album of 2010 countdown, this Belated Review is pretty late even by my standards. Originally released back in November, VM1 is the first release from Glasgow's post-rockers Verse Metrics. One of the few bands the Scottish blogging community went weak at the knees for at the tail-end of 2010. And quite rightly so, VM1 is an assured, impressive debut from a band who only started gigging 6 months ago. Over the festive period, opening track Tired Lights has been the one song that's been stuck in my head, thanks to its dark, brooding chorus and repeated refrain. Both beg to be sung back by scores of sweaty fans... something I think the band might just have to get used to in the future! Each of the 5 songs on their debut mark Verse Metrics out as a band to keep an eye on this year, but it's closing track Sad Bones (live under beautiful bridges) which steals the show for me. Sure, it might not be its chorus etched into my brain, but with its majestic opening alone, is it any wonder it stands out! Mark my words... expect to hear a whole lot more from these guys!
Supermarionation - On The Fly EP
Was I the only one who heard the name Supermarionation and expected some geeky kid who'd locked himself in his bedroom, hooked his old SNES up to his laptop and set about recreating the Super Mario World soundtrack? No, just me? Well anyway, that couldn't be further from the truth here. They're a 3-piece from Edinburgh who tow the fine line between pop-punk and hard-hitting, ballsy rock. Their debut On The Fly EP is most certainly a grower. At first, maybe because of my wrong preconception or my general indifference to the rock genre, I was a bit underwhelmed. Now I've had a month or so to digest it, and taking 'belated' to new extremes in the process, I'm glad to say I appreciate it for what it is... a damn fine debut and I'd even go as far as to say, in places, its ter-riff-ic! Those places are, more often than not, heard on the opening two tracks - the standout, rollicking opener Those Home Girls which (sticking with the computer game theme) could easily be a bonus stage on that heroic guitar-based game, and The Rising Tide. With a combination of the great intro, pounding bassline, and the contrasting Nick Cave-esque vocals, the latter works a treat. The punky The Ashes Of Love has its moments too and shows this trio have a few more strings to their bow. A promising start from "Scotland's hottest up-and-coming new band" (The Metro).
Randolph's Leap - Battleships & Kettle Chips EP
Last but not least, quite the opposite in fact, it's the the mighty folk-pop ensemble Randolph's Leap with what is officially their debut EP. Not just any ol' EP mind you... arguably the best EP of 2010. I've been a fan of the band, led by unassuming frontman Adam Ross, for a while now thanks to his intelligent, quirky songwriting and their never-ending string of faultless, pop melodies. There's 5 perfect examples on this EP. From the slow-burning, shuffling folk epic Going Home, through the smart, verseless break-up tale Back To Square One, to the stupid-smile-inducing la-la-la's of Undergod, a what-if glimpse into Adam's self-deprecation and general (but accepted) weirdness. The EP is the first release by Olive Grove Records. You've sadly missed out on the Sooper Dooper CD Package, complete with hand-knitted sleeve and frisbee, but the EP can be downloaded over here. Sticking my neck out now (not much though), but you will not be disappointed!