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London, Upstairs at the Garage

Aberfeldy 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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