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A brave step forward, Hyacinth is an album full of poetry, light and warmth of heart, and presents a band holding nothing back. It registers a number of changes for the group since their debut LP Permo in 2017: personnel changes, geographical changes, a new context, an ever-changing world outside. The quartet both lost and gained a member, with Cal Donnelly exiting the group, and Rachel Taylor joining. Rachel and Sean Armstrong have relocated, leaving Glasgow for Berlin – Rachel, from Canada, had no choice but to leave the UK, and Sean followed her. “I think if anything the change has brought us closer as a band,” Rachel reflects, “and made it clear to us that we wanted to continue making music together".

Throughout Hyacinth, there is joy in spades, but also melancholy, and a checked fury, threading the group’s political vision through their reflections on the personal and the interpersonal. Jack explains that the new songs “are about the need for love in an often very unloving world. Trying to find a balance of some kind between feelings of apathy, negativity, detachment and action, positivity and oneness.” Whilst Mellin’s songs were more pointedly political on Permo, here he has built more complexity into his writing. Elsewhere, Rachel contributes her first song to a Spinning Coin release, in the form of the beautiful “Black Cat”.

Hyacinth was recorded during a few days, by Peter Deimel at Black Box Studios in France, while the group were on a summertime tour. It was an idyll, a restorative respite. That carries through to the album, there’s a sense of society and collectivism at the heart of these pop songs, and a commentary on the optimism of the will, no matter how bleak things can get. Ultimately, on Hyacinth, the Spinning Coin ethos stays true to itself, as Sean expands about the experiences and the motivations behind the new music: “It’s trying to connect with other people on a human level, doing something that we love, and trying to embrace the unknown.”

TRACK LISTING

Avenues Of Spring
Feel You More Than World Right Now
Get High
The Long Heights
Despotic Sway
Ghosting
Laughing Ways
Black Cat
Soul Trader
Never Enough
Slips Away
It’s Alright
Thing Of The Past

Recorded with Edwyn Collins at his AED Studios, and at Green Door Studio (the recording centre for the new wave of Glasgow artists) with Stu Evans, Permo is an album of bold steps and simple gestures, coming from a group who have found, seemingly effortlessly, a confident, unpretentious and egalitarian way of working together. Spinning Coin’s two songwriters - Sean Armstrong and Jack Mellin – oscillate taking centre stage on a song; Armstrong’s more melancholic melodies contrasting with Mellin’s urgent refrains.

The fourteen songs on Permo trace all kinds of terrain, though the overarching story might be that of a group looking for escapism, somehow and anyhow, in the midst of a social and cultural climate that’s closing down possibilities for difference and community.

It opens with the gorgeous ‘Raining On Hope Street’, an Armstrong song that was released on 7” earlier this year – there’s an undercurrent to the song, too, as Armstrong reflects that he wanted to write something “slightly spooky, ambiguous and open to interpretation”. ‘Tin’ follows, one of many Mellin songs that looks to the outside world and finds things wanting. “’Tin’ is trying to look at the two extremes of privilege and under-privilege,” he says. It’s a theme that Mellin returns to, with variation, over the course of the album – from the deceptively spry ‘Money Is A Drug’, whose flecks of country-soul charm conceals lyrics calling out ‘class war’ and ‘stupid rules’, through to ‘Powerful’, where Mellin takes on the possibilities of self-empowerment:

Spinning Coin write from lived experience, grounding their songs in an understanding that we’re all finding our way through the world, trying to figure out what the hell is going on out there. Armstrong takes on similar themes with ‘Starry Eyes’, and its blunt lines about how it’s not ‘the right time to celebrate, when people in the world are dying at the hands of the government’, but he also writes some of the album’s more peaceable songs, like the sleepwalking reverie of ’Metronome River’, or the driftwork of ‘Floating With You’.

Elsewhere on Permo, The Pastels’ Katrina Mitchell and Breakfast Muff’s Simone Wilson sing on ‘Be Free’ and ‘Running With The World’ respectively, plus the band have just welcomed new member Rachel Taylor. That’s a typically Spinning Coin development: a group fiercely engaged with community, welcoming new experience into their orbit, and looking for ways to move forwards with a warmth for humanity. It’s writ large across Permo – finding better ways to live, and to be together in the world, against the odds.

TRACK LISTING

1. Raining On Hope Street
2. Tin
3. Money For Breakfast
4. Money Is A Drug
5. Metronome River
6. Magdalene
7. Floating With You
8. Be Free
9. Sides
10. Sleepless
11. Powerful
12. Starry Eyes
13. Running With The World
14. I Feel The Need To Be An Actor

Matt Jones’ Crescent release ‘Resin Pockets’, their first album in ten years, on Geographic Music.

‘Resin Pockets’ is an album that nestles beautifully into a long history of visionary outsider English pop craft, in the same vein as the isle’s solitary voices, all singing against the grain - the playfulness of Kevin Ayers; the grace of Vashti Bunyan; the rhapsody of Robert Wyatt; the melancholy of Epic Soundtracks; the revelations of Bill Fay. It’s an album of joyous melody and evocative poetry, of community and intimacy.

Matt predominantly performed the album, in collaboration with his brother Sam on drums, tambourine and ‘lookout’, though some other familiar faces appear, too: Kate Wright of Movietone as well as Lisa Brook and Michal William of Headfall feature too.

TRACK LISTING

Get Yourself Tidy
Impressions
I’m Not Awake
Charlstone
Willow Pattern
AC30
Lightbulbs In The Trees
Starlings
Roman Road

Lightships

Electric Cables

    ‘Electric Cables’ is an album of tender, observational songs, played with an invigorating and easy sense of purpose; the sound of friends enjoying one another’s company and allowing ideas and experiments to flourish. A complex and rewarding record that you'll want to keep coming back to.

    Lightships is the new musical outpost from Gerard Love. The Lightships band is Dave McGowan (guitar - Teenage Fanclub), Brendan O'Hare (drums - from the first incarnation of Teenage Fanclub), Tom Crossley (flute - International Airport and The Pastels) and Bob Kildea (bass - Belle & Sebastian).

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Andy says: The songs are classic, but that's a given if you're in Teenage Fanclub. The sound is the thing: Hazy, shimmery, light and floaty and with a flute dipping in and out. It's the perfect summer record.


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