Malcolm Middleton Nov 27, The Caves, Edinburgh; touring
“I don’t think I flicked a switch and turned into Erasure or something,” says Malcolm Middleton.
The musician is talking about the more electronic influenced work he’s released over the past decade, twice under the name Human Don’t Be Angry.
Middleton has used elements of electronica at least since his first single with Aidan Moffat as Arab Strap, 1996’s looping, clattering First Big Weekend.
Still, new album Bananas is his first to be based around a more traditional guitar, bass and drums set-up since 2009’s Waxing Gibbous, a record he then described as “OK but I’ve just listened to Hysteria by Def Leppard and that’s much better.”
Rather than auditioning as a back-up player to Andy Bell and Vince Clarke, Middleton says the electronic setup was more suited to his new surrounds in Anstruther, Fife, where he moved in 2011.
“The electronic stuff had always come naturally,” he says. “When I moved to Fife, I was quite far away from a recording studio and recorded alone at home where everything was at hand. Before that, I hadn’t really known there was a Fife; coming from Falkirk, it would just get missed out on the way to Dundee.”
He seems to have settled down in his adopted home, enlisting local Kenny Anderson aka King Creosote to feature on the album alongside long-term collaborator Jenny Reeve of Strike The Colours and Dan Wilson aka Withered Hand whispered Edinburgh folk musician.
Featuring an image that may be familiar to fans of The Velvet Underground, Bananas is out on heavyweight vinyl on Triassic Tusk Records, the label run by Stephen Marshall, who lives just down the road from Middleton.
These gigs in Edinburgh (27), Glasgow (28) and Aberdeen (29), will feature drummer David Jeans, double bassist Stevie Jones and pianist Graeme Smillie; the trio who recorded Bananas live with Middleton at Chem19 earlier this year.