Though the opportunity to join one of the 80s nostalgia package tours must surely have come their way at some point before now, Glasgow soul boys Hipsway have withheld a comeback until the 30th anniversary re-release of their self-titled debut album. Frontman Graeme Skinner explained the hiatus thus: “I just popped out for some fags.”
Hailing from a time when Scotpop ruled the waves, Hipsway were briefly successful but failed to last the course like their peers Hue & Cry and Del Amitri – yet here they were facing down the first of two sardine-packed sold out hometown shows, possibly playing to more fans than first time around.
Their moody Caledonian soul emerged well preserved from its hermetic time capsule, its very smooth sound redolent of a time when aspirational Glasgow was discovering cappuccino culture – or perhaps its musicians were just determined to conjure up a certain escapist sophistication where it was otherwise hard to find.
Shot through with the tastefully deployed influence of Chic and Steely Dan, plus passable covers of Bowie and Orange Juice songs, it was all arguably too smooth and moody, and the set failed to ignite until the closing stages when the band rolled out their most noteworthy tracks.
These included McEwans Lager advert soundtrack Tinder, the melodramatic Ask the Lord, emotive blue-eyed soul of Long White Car and their two catchiest hooks, Broken Years and shiny pop funk production The Honeythief, which finally had Skinner loosened up, working the stage and snapping the delighted crowd reaction for use as his screen saver.