Boomkat Product Review:
On the back of his surprisingly high profile Christmas single trail ('We're All Going To Die', no less) Malcolm Middleton has scrambled into readiness for the delivery of this follow-up to last year's A Brighter Beat. This latest collection features six brand new songs plus three covers, namely Madonna's 'Stay', Jackson C. Frank's 'Just Like Anything' and 'Marguerita Red' by King Creosote. You may already have heard 'Blue Plastic Bags' bandied about radio playlists: it's a rather lovely, if sentimental comedown song about the great post-twenty-something hangover, I guess. It all sounds a bit like Stephen Malkmus trapped in an episode of Rab C. Nesbitt. The opening track, 'Week Off' is at least as good though, flirting with (comparatively) upbeat folkisms with a hangdog grasp on wit. On the difficulties of songwriting Middleton comments: "It's easy hating yourself/ It's hard making it rhyme." If you didn't already know this guy's history you'd be thinking: someone should really introduce him to Aidan Moffat. Those two would really hit it off. Sleight Of Heart isn't quite the misanthropic tirade it may initially appear to be, and Middleton, while adept at predictably transforming Madonna's 'Stay' into a maudlin, slowed down moper, arranged for strings, piano and a doggedly lethargic acoustic guitar strum, is just as at home concocting an epic Celtic power ballad like 'Love Comes In Waves', giving Snow Patrol a run for their money, yet surprisingly avoiding any hint of the naffness that might suggest.