London, Upstairs at the Garage
continue the fine tradition set by the likes of America,
Texas, St Etienne and Englefield Green by naming themselves
after a place. Ok, I lied about the last bit, but you
get the picture.
Although hailing from Edinburgh they have chosen a town
with a population under 2000, slap bang right in the
middle of Scotland. At first listen – on record,
at least – Aberfeldy sound slap bang in the middle
of the road. But live it’s a different story.
Yes, they reproduce the sound of their debut album ‘Young
Forever’ faithfully, to say the least. This lot
can certainly play, whether it’s Glockenspiel,
Organ, Travel Piano, Fiddle or the standard core of
Drums, Guitar and Bass. And lead singer and songwriter
Riley Briggs has the personality and the voice to cut
it as a frontman – never mind the name…
What sets Aberfeldy apart from the other young Scots
around at the moment is the backing vocals provided
by Glockenspieler (?) Ruth Barrie and Fiddler Sarah
McFayden. Their ‘oohs’ ‘aahs’
and harmonies conjure up the ghost of ‘Pop Muzik’
past provided by ‘M’ back in the 70’s,
and they added some welcome colour to proceedings tonight.
Comparisons with Belle and Sebastian are probably a
little unfair, as Aberfeldy's romantic ballads are written
in what is possibly a more standard format, and Briggs’
best will no doubt provide a soundtrack to many a tortured
soul wondering why the one they want doesn’t want
them. Indeed, when Surly Girl was aired tonight there
was almost a collective gulp at the finish – and
a closing rendition of current single Heliopolis by
night – "only the NME could make it single
of the week and slag us off at the same time" meant
we got all we came for.
Aberfeldy write ‘growers’. If their songs
have grown on you enough by the time you see them, then
you really are in for the most pleasant of surprises.
Article written by James G
Sep 7, 2004.
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