Play: Electric >>>
It's a brave soul who goes against the grain and speaks out against the indie-centric press coverage of Scotland's music scene, but Iain Bethel, lead singer and bassist of Glaswegian four-piece post-hardcore outfit The Whisky Works, is not a man to mince words.
"I think if you dig deep, there's a lot of great stuff going on in the Scottish music scene," he says. "It's become a lot better in the last few years, it has gone from being very formulaic to a lot more dynamic. Personally, I think Scotland's music scene could do a lot better from promoting less singer-songwriter types, I really don't think we need any more of them!"
Fighting words, perhaps, but his broadside will get many nods of agreement from those who have seen the alternative scene in Glasgow go stratospheric over the last couple of years while the taste-makers have looked on, oblivious. Then again, one would expect nothing less than polemics from a band quietly confident that they can "tear a new one in the UK music scene" with their upcoming mini-album Deficit Attention Program, due for release in August, and a summer tour which will see them travel the length of Britain from Elgin to Somerset.
Listening to tracks from the forthcoming EP, it's easy to believe The Whisky Works can do just that. Driving rock songs like 'Electric' are deceptively melodic, while the rhythm section is rock solid, laying down a tailor-made base for Bethel's impressive vocals.
The band draws influences from post-hardcore staples like At The Drive-In, Cave In and Rival Schools, as well as more eclectic acts like the late, great Aereogramme. But despite such a firm sonic grounding in the genre heavyweights, Bethel is adamant The Whisky Works' sound, and especially their live show, has its own character.
"We thrive on creating a great sense of energy both through our recordings and our live show, which we feel is something a lot of bands overlook," he enthuses. "Without trying to sound clichd, what we believe we are doing is our own thing, we are not imitating anyone or trying to sound like our favourite bands, we just do what feels natural for the four of us."
The Whisky Works have been lucky enough to have had Iain Cook - of aforementioned Glasgow post-rock demigods Aereogramme - behind the desk for the recording of Deficit Attention Program. The band can't speak highly enough of Cook and believe his input was invaluable in the creation of the mini-album. Bethel explains; "Working with Iain Cook has been incredible! I honestly don't think you could ever meet a nicer man. Aside from the fact he is really great at what he does, he also gave us a large amount of control over the mix."
So where next for The Whisky Works? Their upcoming tour and EP will likely keep them busy for some time but, looking ahead, the band sees the next 12 months as a real make-or-break period. The guys hope to build on their existing fanbase, establish themselves as a nationwide presence and make sure their new record gets the respect and recognition it deserves.
Whether that will be enough to make those looking for the next breakout indie act sit up and pay attention to the post-hardcore scene remains to be seen, but on the strength of Deficit Attention Program, we wouldn't bet against it.
Like what you hear? Catch The Whisky Works live at the following dates:
18 Jul: The Orange Box, Yeovil
19 Jul: Nikhs Bar, Newcastle
20 Jul: Venue TBA, Brighton
26 Jul: The Tunnels, Aberdeen
27 Jul: The Loft, Elgin
28 Jul: Balcony Bar, Dundee
30 Jul: Captains Rest, Glasgow (mini album launch)
1 Aug: The Venue, Dumfries
Under the Radar: showcasing the best new music in Scotland