Play: Barren Years »
Orchestral-folk combo Brother Louis Collective have been hauling their cargo of bittersweet, emotive pop tunes all over the Scottish music scene for about three years now.
The six-piece, led by 'Brother' Louis Abbott, perform in a number of other mainstay Glasgow bands including The Moth and the Mirror and alongside Anna Meldrum, who recently upgraded from solo to band status.
After releasing their first single 'These Barren Years' in March the band took to the studio to record a full-length album.
"We chose to record at Chem19, working with Paul 'Walnuts' Savage, and he was great at getting the best out of us," says guitarist Gordon Skene. "We did the drums and bass live, and seemed to race through everything else, it was a real breeze for the most part.
"The atmosphere in there is so relaxed, with daylight, and a fussball table. What more can you ask for? It felt like the best time to get this collection of songs committed to tape, so we got some money together and headed in and just got the job done."
On stage the band pick and mix instruments, switching between guitar, flute, clarinet, and upright bass. This plethora of instrumentation leads easily to comparisons with the endlessly referenced Arcade Fire. But if anything they're a gentler version; just as passionate, but like a younger, more instantly likeable sibling. A Haribo Arcade Fire if you like.
It's the quality of the vocals and lyrics that sets Brother Louis Collective apart. Clever observations of life and love fall from Louis and female vocalist Sarah Hayes' mouths with real warmth. In live favourite 'Squealing Pigs' there's even a good, old-fashioned hoe-down in the mid-section.
After playing T in the Park's T Break stage this summer the band are hoping to make some progress with their new recordings.
"It feels like our time to push things forward," Skene says. "Until now we've been playing carefully, treading water a little and finishing uni, working at jobs and all the rest of it.
"But now things in our personal lives are shaking up a bit we're hoping to make the most of it and get some good gigs, find somebody to put our record out, make a name for ourselves outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh."
Like what you hear? Watch Brother Louis Collective live at An Tober, Isle of Mull on 21 Aug and a new venue TBC in Glasgow on 14 Sep. Check their MySpace for future dates.
Under the Radar: showcasing the best new music in Scotland