“WE’VE worn our finest suits for the occasion, our first time in Scotland,” began the tall, bespectacled, very talkative half of the smartly attired Milk Carton Kids, Joey Ryan, at the top of a show in which rambling deadpan double-act comedy almost upstaged the music. “Now you’re making us feel overdressed,” he quipped, in response to the crowd’s whoops.
The Milk Carton Kids
Oran Mor, Glasgow
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This Los Angeles duo’s sound is as old as folk-pop itself: two soft voices blended in perfection along to the sound of deftly plucked and strummed vintage acoustic guitars.
Indeed, “deftly” hardly does justice to Kenneth Pattengale’s fleet-fingered playing. He deserves extra kudos for good-naturedly enduring various cheeky ribbings from his bandmate, on everything from the superfluous punctuation in the title of his song Honey, Honey to him writing a tune, the handsome Charlie, for a would-be daughter whose mother he’s yet to find. Ryan and Pattengale have knocked out three albums since meeting in 2011, up to this year’s The Ash & Clay. There’s lots to love about a twosome who imbue their music with such warmth – surely no one failed to be warmed by the bittersweet Michigan?
Things got serious come the encore, the highlight of which, Memphis, with its refrain “Graceland is a ghost town tonight” entreats music lovers to quit living in the museum past and make new heroes. A noble sentiment, whether this duo rise to the challenge or not.