I’ve an album by The Son(s) in my collection – purchased in September 2020 at the suggestion of Lloyd Meredith, the brains and talent behind local label Olivegrove Records, and someone I’ve come to call a good friend.
2020 was not a good year to be running a label, or indeed to be involved in just about any part of the music industry at the grassroots levels. COVID meant no shows could be performed, thereby immediately cutting off not just a valuable source of income, but removing the best way for emerging singers or bands to draw attention to their work, especially when a new album has just been completed.
I didn’t know the first thing about The Son(s), but they are on Lloyd’s label, and therefore it was important to buy their new record, The Creatures We Were Before We Were Ghosts, to offer a sense of solidarity. More than eighteen months on, I still know very little about the band as the information provided with the album gives you everything except the hames of the band members and the instruments they play. It’s the same over at the Facebook and Bandcamp pages, so I’m unable to offer anything on the biopgraphical front.
What I can tell you is that they are from Edinburgh and that they previously released albums in 2011 and 2014 prior to the album I purchased. The reason I hadn’t delved in before was that I wasn’t all that keen on the comparisons that were being made in the press, with the emphasis on folk, country and world music and, to be honest, I’d sort of had my fill of bands from Scotland making records that sounded very much like the one released by a contemporary the previous month. In other words, I tuned out without giving them a chance.
The contemporary reviews of ‘The Creatures…’ mentioned things like ‘pysch-folk’ and made comparisons to acts such as Midlake and Fleet Foxes, none of which are huge selling points for me in normal circumstances. But here’s the thing, the album reached me in the midst of an unprecedented lockdown when the idea of going out, having a laugh and loads of fun was pretty much ruled out – unless, as it has since transpired, you work at 10 Downing Street. I found myself drawn to some of the songs – who couldn’t be when there are titles such as A Prick In Gold Lamé, and I’m Glad You Kept Your Hair, John Travolta – but not quite entranced enough to return on a regular basis.
Having said that, it is the sort of record which makes for a fine listen when you want to have something playing while you try and reduce your stress levels or blood pressure.