SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #263: PUNCH AND THE APOSTLES

As recently as last week, I mentioned that quite a few of the Scottish singers/groups to feature in this extremely long-running series will do so as a result of them contributing a song to a compilation album, with it being the only track of theirs I have on the hard drive.

I know nothing about Punch and The Apostles.  I only know of them as a track of theirs appears on Limbo Live Volume 01, issued in 2009 to commemorate and acknowledge a series of gigs put on at The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh; almost held on a weekly basis, the first Limbo Live event was in November 2007 and the last one appears to have been in the summer of 2011.

Here’s what a local listings magazine had to say, back in late 2008, about today’s featured band:-

‘We’re not exactly palatable, but not immediately repulsive,’ suggests lead singer Paul Napier, to sum up the sound of Punch and the Apostles, the Glasgow seven-piece who’ve been bringing chaos to traditional folk music for almost a year now. Mashing up gypsy violins, flamenco guitars and frantic klezmer trumpets, PATA’s fashion-dodging approach to the music industry means they can blast out noises from a circus freak-show or bull-fight one minute, then whisk their crowd to a drunken bar mitzvah in bohemian Montmartre the next.

‘There’s a definite anti-commercial approach to what we do,’ says Napier, who plays guitar and keyboards while the others juggle diving bells, accordions and something called a ‘spinning jenny’ to create their old-fashioned, upbeat and riotous noise. ‘We’re sneaking old musical styles back in like a Trojan horse,’ he adds, explaining their weird hybrid of Tom Waits’ theatricality with tango, polka, Eastern European or blues styles. ‘We want to revive old music forms that people might have wrongly dismissed as boring.’

‘We’re not into slickness,’ points out his sister Juliana, PATA’s only female, and a fan of bands like Gogol Bordello and A Hawk and a Hacksaw. ‘So we wouldn’t want Timbaland producing our stuff. It’s very important for us to stay in control.’ Franz Ferdinand’s management are rumoured to have approached them, but they are still unsigned, giving them free reign to mess around with their fast-paced cacophony of styles. ‘There’s a lot of tripping over instruments when we perform live,’ says Juliana, ‘but that doesn’t stop us from dancing.’

mp3: Punch and The Apostles – Asylum (live)

Quite.

JC

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