Scot­tish quar­tet give one grumpy old critic rea­son to like mu­sic again

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Opinion -

You see them slop­ing around in the early evening, dis­placed fig­ures who no longer be­long, their old haunts boarded up or turned into lap danc­ing clubs. Nowhere to go and no­body to go there with. Back in their prime they were boule­vardiers who flowed in and out of what passed for a scene. Th­ese are Men of a Cer­tain Age – a co­hort cor­ralled off to wither on the vine.

It used to be so easy: you could hear, taste, feel and touch real mu­sic by real peo­ple. Not this non­sense you get to­day – angsty young men cry­ing into their acous­tic gui­tars; shouty fe­males cat­er­waul­ing their ba­nal dog­gerel; mu­sic that calls it­self r’n’b but is a dis­grace to the genre; de­signer in­die bands from the sub­urbs on a gap year be­fore their in­ter­na­tional law de­gree. And where once the only an­cil­lary ser­vice was the odd crappy fanzine or Fan­ning or Peel, now it’s the mu­sic blog­gers with their van­ity pub­lish­ing – like in­die taxi driv­ers with a broad­band con­nec­tion.

There’s noth­ing in the charts for Men of a Cer­tain Age, noth­ing on at the O2 for them. They don’t jump up and down with ev­ery men­tion of Dan bloody Dea­con or An­i­mal Col­lec­tive, or al­most spon­ta­neously com­bust with ex­cite­ment ev­ery time Elec­tric Pic­nic rolls around the way the blog­gers and their “great post, I love your blog” mind­less syco­phants do.

It’s a wilder­ness out there for them. So much vac­u­ous and inane back­ground static now from the self-ap­pointed com­men­tariat and celebrity blog­gers. So many lit­tle peo­ple with such big opin­ions.

There was a time when mu­sic mat­tered to Men of a Cer­tain Age. When Paul Cleary and Stephen Ryan were on ac­tive ser­vice. When a Paddy McAloon or a Teenage Fan­club would pass by. Now it’s some dick­head from Min­nesota with a key­board and “quirky beats”.

Well, pre­pare to fall in love all over again with a new old band who might have been cre­ated un­der test tube con­di­tions for Men of a Cer­tain Age.

The first thing you’ll no­tice about Kas­sidy is that there are four of them and that they line up in a row at the front of the stage with just acous­tic gui­tars (not even a bass). They re­sem­ble Kings of Leon af­ter a three-month Jack Daniels binge; you’d be tempted to call them “hippy looking” un­til you find out they’re all from Glasgow.

Kas­sidy have taken noth­ing from the last three and a half decades of mu­sic. They sound like an acous­tic All­man Broth­ers blended with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and there’s more than a bit of The Ma­mas and Pa­pas in there as well. It’s all four-part har­monies-a-go-go down Kas­sidy way.

I came across Kas­sidy un­ex­pect­edly at a re­cent show­case. Within 30 sec­onds I was sold. They look a bit rav­aged, but are prob­a­bly still in their early 20s. They be­gan as a 12-bar blues band but quickly de­cided all they ever wanted to be was a har­mony band. And they are very, very, very good – and not just be­cause they’re such a palate cleanser from all the over­pro­cessed flot­sam and jet­sam around to­day.

There’s an EP, The Rub­ber­gum, which is as good a place to start as any. They’ve just scored a ma­jor la­bel deal with Ver­tigo, and the guy who pro­duced the first Arc­tic Mon­keys al­bum is on board for their de­but, which will be re­leased later this year.

Up un­til now it’s just been the four of them stand­ing in a line with their acous­tic gui­tars for the whole show, but at a re­cent Glasgow gig they had a rock’n’roll rush of blood to the head and drafted in a bass player and a drum­mer. They loved what they heard but are still un­de­cided. Any­thing that threat­ens to drown out the four­part har­monies live just isn’t a goer.

Long hair, flared jeans and no “beats” – quirky or oth­er­wise. I think I’m in love.

See kas­sidy­mu­

Break out the Jack: Kas­sidy have a scored a big la­bel deal

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