Wake The President - You Can't Change That Boy

He's not the biggest bloke in the world, but the shadow of Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch still casts a significant shadow over many a young Glasgow band. They say when he passes on you will still be able to see his ghost running through the city's parks or hanging around municipal football pitches and young men will continue to strap on guitars to write thoughtful paens to girls in polkadot dresses in his memory. Despite the worldwide impact of the likes of Mogwai, the city is still inextricably associated with gentler musical sounds - in contrast to the harder realities of daily living.

Released on the same label that gave the world the first B&S album, comparisons with the now elder statesmen of twee are inevitable although Wake The President eschew their folkier elements for a purer indie sound closer to the likes of The Close Lobsters, albeit in sharper duds. Ostensibly a vehicle for the brothers Sandberg to craft melodic guitar pop like so many other local bands before them, You Can't Change ... is a smart debut collection of tunes that will endear them to Alba-philes everywhere.

'Something To Turn Up' opens with a gentle strum before leaping into just the sweetest chorus. Bafflingly, the song is not given the chance to properly bloom and comes to a strangely premature end, although this disappointment is slightly mitigated by 'Professor', a near-perfect example of Scottish guitar pop with galloping McCartney-style bass runs. A certain shoe-in when we come to compile our tracks of the year. Tumbling drums herald 'Mail Alice', with Erik Sandberg declaring "Cognitive therapy is what you need" before berating the subject for believing everything she hears on TV. Brother Bjorn conjours up some pleasant Marr-esque melodies rather than just fey jangle on 'Miss Tierney' ("I spent an hour in the shower ... in your honour"), with the lyrics generally concentrating on the relationship between the sexes ("You're not the kind of girl my mother would take kindly to" - 'A&E') and the only real misfire is the double entrendre in 'Give Me Two Secs' ('Secs! Secs! Secs!'), which is more Benny Hill than Edwyn Collins.

Like the recent Pains of Being Pure at Heart album, 'You Can't ...' may not bring anything terribly new to the table - and the cynical may dub it essentially revivalism - but its honest charms should melt even the hardest heart.

The sound of young Scotland then? A lot like the old sound of young Scotland: clever, vibrant, joyous. Simply thrilled, honey.



out of 10
Category Review

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