There were many who had high hopes for Aberfeldy.
Theis Edinburgh-based band (and named after a rather picturesque small town in Scotland) first came to prominence back in 2004 when two very well received and singles and a subsequent debut LP entitled Young Forever were released on Rough Trade. They were a charming sounding band with the three blokes on vocals/guitar, bass and drums (Riley Briggs, Ken McIntosh and Ian Stoddard) augmented by a high reliance on the keyboard, violin and harmonising skills of its two female members (Ruth Barrie and Sarah McFadyen).
They made some early inroads into the indie charts and then a third single – Love Is An Arrow – was released in early 2005 and thanks in part to a cutesy animated video that enjoyed heavy rotation on MTV here in the UK, the single reached #60 on the mainstream charts. In fact, there was every chance it could have gone Top 40 except Rough Trade underestimated the demand and hadn’t pressed enough copies.
There was an audience for the sort of music Aberfeldy were making as evidenced by the chart success of The Magic Numbers with who they shared a lot of traits. In late 2005, another lovely little single in the shape of Summer’s Gone was released but it didn’t have the impact hoped for.
The following year the band took their sounds out on the road to mainstream audiences thanks to a series of high-profile support slots across the UK and Europe and there was a very favourable critical reception to the July 2006 release of their second LP Do Whatever Turns You On. But to the surprise of many, the band were dropped by Rough Trade before the year was out.
Much of 2007 was spent on the road in difficult and strange circumstances – no record deal but with the old single Summer’s Gone having been licensed for use in a number of TV commercials throughout the world, they had as high a profile as they ever had. And then, towards the end of the year the band suffered a dreadful blow with the departure of the two female members in somewhat acrimonious circumstances.
They were replaced with new recruits and this fleshed out six-piece band ended 2007 with two sell-out gigs in their home city and high expectations for a new deal to be inked early into the new year. Instead, it took until October 2008 for any new material to appear and it was in the shape of a 45 entitled Come On Claire on 17 Seconds Records, a new and ultimately short-lived venture from Ed Jupp who had initially dipped his toes into the music business via the excellent 17 Seconds blog (which is still going strong today).
Aberfeldy stayed busy on the road and in the studio but those of us who had high hopes a few years back knew deep down that their chance had come and gone. The release in late 2010 of a third LP – Somewhere To Jump From – this time on Tenement Records, was met with almost complete indifference.
I don’t listen all that much to the band nowadays but I’ve enough of their songs on the i-phone for them to pop up randomly every few months and I do like hearing them. Here’s the closest they got to the big time:-
mp3 : Aberfeldy – Love Is An Arrow