A Sunny Day in Glasgow
Scribble Mural Comic Journal
o wonder those (alleged) Muslim terrorists were in a hurry to get to the check-in desk at Glasgow Airport: have you seen the summer in Britain this year? We haven’t, and nothing will come between a weegie and his £99 swally to Majorca or, well, Afghanistan. This is what Philadelphian Ever Nalens realised whilst at Art School here—and if I may brazenly conflate Philadelphia with “everywhere else” as a place where we presume it’s always sunny—all you people “everywhere else” like Spain ‘n that don’t realise the value of the sun! Know how when you’re away from music for a few days and the first beat you hear again sounds extra powerful, the first bar more profound than it ever was before? It’s like that with sunlight too, but we’re talking weeks and months of grey nothingness rather than mere days of silence.
This summer’s been particularly rainy & cloudy—“dreich” we’d say. But some day soon—first day back at school, probbly—the rain clouds will head to England and Edinburgh, and we can laugh and get a Fab and sit outside. The sun in Glasgow is rarely strong enough to oppress—it prefers to linger softly, then cheekily hide behind a stray cloud before returning triumphantly, and we all cheer. It sparkles on every leaf, brightens every dark drookit corner, finds a flower on every derelict wasteland, and turns Glasgow from the crumbling, poverty-stricken midden it’s so often accused of being into the Belle of the ball, with a gleaming smile and a fresh-smelling dress. Its transformative effect is revolutionary, and Nalens band-mate Ben Daniels and his singing sisters have been convinced sufficiently to embody all that within their music.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into the back-story, but rarely has a band-name so closely resembled an instruction for best-listening. A Sunny Day In Glasgow—the band we’re talking now—can be loosely dropped alongside the new shoegaze-y crop, debuting here an album of otherworldly, ethereal noise, indistinct choral singing, hazily layered distortion, and occasionally creeping beats. They take Scottish influences—most obviously the ambient fog of Cocteau Twins, but also the droning guitars of JAMC, and even Edinburgh’s Boards of Canada. “Panic Attacks…” begins with a vague BOC whirr before glistening emphatically like the first rays of a new rising sun. “Ghost in the Graveyard” features a throbbing beat so deep as to almost be droning, whilst angels—always coasting along rays of hard sunshine, aren’t they?—quarrel beautifully over the top. Final track “The Best Summer Ever” is the closest ASDIG ever get to a party pop song, with nearly-decipherable vocals, a jangling verse-of-sorts, and almost-a-chorus to hang your hat on.
The best thing about a sunny day in Glasgow is that the sun doesn’t set until 11-ish, whereas Scribble Mural Comic Journal could happily close a bit sooner. It can be disorientating, especially when the first two tracks are waving, on different levels and at different times, in stereo around your head. But if that’s what drowning is like, you can get used to it within an album as admirable as this. When the summer’s sun finally does come out, I’m heading to Kelvingrove Park with my best headphones and this on my MP3 player to await a real head-fuck of an epiphany. Somewhere within Scribble Mural’s dense fibers I’m convinced one exists but, like a flower in an unkempt wasteland, it may require some prompting to emerge.
Reviewed by: Ally Brown
Reviewed on: 2007-07-27