Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire -Swithering

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Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire
Swithering
Middle of Nowhere Recordings. MONR30

Eclectic Musical Postcards From Scotland’s West Coast.

Although a friend in Scotland has raved about Roddy Hart for a couple of years I genuinely had no idea what to expect when I pressed ‘play’ the first time.
Opening track Tiny Miracles has a classy 80’s vibe to it with Hart’s windswept vocals reminding me to some degree, of Paul Buchanan from the late lamented Glaswegian band The Blue Nile and the song itself isn’t a mile away from that band’s latter sound either.
Track the dark and brooding #2 Berlin, takes a wild step left of centre though; with a nod in the direction of Bowie circa Low the story will draw you in, whether you play it loudly or quietly; and I’ve done both.
No Monsters follows a similar tack; with a monotone vocal over a multi-layered and deeply textured backdrop as Hart takes us into the darkest pits of his imagination.
Just as I was thinking I had a handle on Hart, he throws another curve ball with In The Arms Of California. A much more up-tempo song showcasing Hat’s vocal range and quirky writing style and the band sound as tight as a badgers bum, in the background.
The first couple of times I played the album it sort of ‘drifted over me’ as it’s not my normal first choice of music…….modern! But, the more I played it in the car the more songs like the doleful We’re The Immortals and the quirky Low Light with it’s funky bass-lines seeped into my mind and soul.
Tucked away in the middle of the record is the charming Violet; a love song of sorts and the sort of romantic song I always associate with Indie Scottish Pop bands from Orange Juice through The Blue Nile (again?) and even Belle & Sebastian.
Unsurprisingly there is actually a ‘favourite track’ too, the relatively straightforward Alt. Rock of Dreamt You Were Mine, which has ‘radio play’ written all over it and has a hook that the young people would call an ‘ear worm.’
‘Swithering’ is a Scottish word meaning ‘uncertainty as to which course of action to take’ which sort of makes sense when you listen to the album the first time; but the more time you invest in listening the more you realise that each track lights the spark for the next and the overall result is the sound of a band with a lot of imagination and aren’t afraid to go their own way; regardless of the consequences and I salute them for that.

#PS I gave my copy to Daughter in Law #2 who loves bands like Midlake, Band of Horses and Arcade Fire and she absolutely loves it.

Released November 25th 2016

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