Notwithstanding that some of the production has dated somewhat there surely can be no counter-arguments to the motion that ‘The first Aztec Camera LP is one of the greatest albums in Scottish history’.
High Land, Hard Rain is packed with ridiculously catchy and memorable tunes and some wonderfully observant lyrics, many of which were written before Roddy Frame had reached his 18th birthday. He was also astute enough to recognise that the sublime We Could Send Letters deserved a far better fate than to wither as a b-side on an obscure and hard-to-find 45 on Postcard Records, and in doing so he takes what was already a very special song and turns it into something as beautiful as the sun going down of a late June evening off the west coast of Scotland. The album version has a slightly slower tempo than the Postcard version which enables the song to breathe a little bit more, and at almost a minute longer in length, it accommodates a cracking guitar solo:-
The album yielded two hit and popular singles in Oblivious (still a staple part of indie-discos the world over almost 40 years on) and Walk Out To Winter (although the remix version released as a 45 is one of those that hasn’t aged as well as others).
The track, however, I find myself most returning to is the one from which a portion of lyric was lifted to give the album its title:-
A joyous celebration of youth with that fearless take on things that you have in your teenage years….it’s just that Roddy was far more capable of articulating it than any of us. It’s also an absolute floor-filler with a hi-tempo tune that I feel is akin to one of those ceilidh number that leave you breathless at the end of the set dance.
And just when you need a perfect come down number, there’s the acoustic number that closes everything off:-
Allegedly named after a pub in East Kilbride whose staff weren’t that fussed about serving underage drinkers…………