My Latest Novel - Wolves
It begins in the most sedate of ways. Coming across as the next band to help the new Folk renaissance - acoustic guitars accompanied by the kind of balladry we've heard from Scottish bands before. But, where it takes you from here though is a whistle stop tour of British music past, present and maybe even future.
This Scottish five-piece certainly aren't afraid of using instruments - every song here seems to built upon layers upon layers of music, a lush blanket of sounds reminding me of Sufjan Steven's latest effort. There's also an interesting blend of vocals, both male and female, mixes of spoken word and singing. My Latest Novel becomes an appropriate name for this band - listening to this is like getting stuck into a good book, you submerge yourself into it, let it wash over you, picking up on little threads here and there and trying to follow them through these rich and evocative songs.
A great example of their ability to build a song is Learning Lego, beginning as a gentle strum, it builds into a sea shanty half way through (reminding me in parts of The Decemberists) before descending into a chanting school choir. Another band with which they get compared to is The Arcade Fire, and it doesn't take much to draw similarities between the two. They could be a British alternative to them - weaving disparate influences to form a dense web of music which becomes more than the sum of its parts. Though not everything on offer here is wildly ambitious, they can keep things simple and create songs with folkish tendencies. The Hope Edition certainly reminds me of James Yorkston's album (with added whistling) and Sister Sneaker, Sister Soul is the best song Belle & Sebastian never wrote until it descends into a beast of a crescendo of guitars, violins and everything but the kitchen sink - something their fellow countrymen Mogwai would be proud of.
As you might have guessed, there's plenty going on here; all kinds of influences flowing through the mix, but mentioning all these other bands distracts from what this album and My Latest Novel have achieved - the ambition to try something a little bit different, to take their obvious influences and spin them into something they can call their own, to create a sound they're comfortable in. Highly recommended.