On the radar: Call To Mind

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Some bands are all talk. They may not be able to further the evolution of music in any meaningful way, but catch their eye after a gig and they'll drone on for ten minutes about how they're getting a lot of hype and how a few record labels are sniffing around but how that doesn't matter y'know, 'cos it's all about the music.

It's a well-worn clich, but other bands prefer to let their music do the talking, one being Call To Mind. Guitarist Jamie Ross explains their modus operandi: "We just like to keep our heads down and write and record and occasionally play gigs. It's difficult sometimes when you are on your own (without a label) with day jobs etc, but our songs stand tall next to anyone's."

That last declaration may carry more than an echo of the aforementioned ear-bending, but coming from one quarter of this Glasgow-via-Inverness group, it sounds much more like considered self-assurance.

Jamie, along with fellow Invernessians Martin Ross (vocals) and Andrew Masson (bass), lived in Glasgow long before Call To Mind's inception. They met drummer Joe Smillie through mutual friends - namely the guys from Barn Owl (who we featured last month) - and they've been making their slow-burning, progressive rock for about a year and a half now.

Having turned the heads of diverse taste-makers from Alan McGee to Glasgow PodcART, their music - imagine the kind of cast-adrift melodies favoured by Grizzly Bear stretched out onto a vast panoramic canvass - is surely deserving of a wider audience.

Although they cite their influences bluntly as "Kate Bush, Elbow, Super Furry Animals", Call To Mind are obviously passionate about their music: "We would still be hanging out listening to records or watching gigs and stuff if we weren't in a band," says Jamie.

The band's ambitions are similarly straightforward: "To get to that self-sustaining point anyone musically minded aims for," Jamie says, "whether that's on someone's label or on our own."

While they're still waiting on that record deal themselves, Call To Mind are full of admiration for some of their more established musical contemporaries. "There are some great bands that have broken through recently, Frightened Rabbit, The Phantom Band and The Twilight Sad being good examples," Jamie says. "Yet there are many gems under the soil with little or no backing behind them, like Yahweh, Barn Owl and Bronto Skylift." (Ahem, we've featured all three! - Ed]

And having left the Highlands behind, do they still consider it a good place for music?

"Inverness is always great when we play there," Jamie says. "Hootananny in particular is always thriving with something, whether it's a folk, reggae or metal night or whatever. Glasgow is quite saturated with gigs on a nightly basis. In the North though, where there aren't nearly as many gigs, the crowd are generally more responsive; bands from the Central Belt would be pleasantly surprised if they decided to venture up there."

Like what you hear? Watch Call To Mind live at the following shows:

28 Aug @ Wizard Festival, Aberdeenshire

31 Oct @ Hootenanny, Inverness

Under the Radar: showcasing the best new music in Scotland