Gig review: Sound of Yell, Glasgow

A GLISTENING spider’s web of acoustic guitar, violin, clarinet, recorder, flute and musical saw, Sound of Yell sound like nothing so much as the lost soundtrack to a slightly unsettling 1970s European children’s programme.
The line-up is led by Arab Straps Stevie JonesThe line-up is led by Arab Straps Stevie Jones
The line-up is led by Arab Straps Stevie Jones

Sound of Yell - Platform, Glasgow

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They’re the inspired brainchild of Glasgow indie veteran Stevie Jones (El Hombre Trajeado; Arab Strap), a modest band-leader whose compositions and arrangements speak of a sensitive, lyrical soul.

Though their number varies depending on availability, on Thursday they performed as a ten-piece ensemble, with notable contributors including Stevie Jackson from Belle and Sebastian on harmonica, Alex Neilson from psychedelic coven The Trembling Bells on drums, and folk explorer Alasdair Roberts on droning hurdy gurdy.

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Seated throughout, Jones led them through a haunting selection of instrumentals from Brocken Spectre, their forthcoming début album for Chemikal Underground. Entirely free of clutter, these delicate yet powerful pieces are harnessed by Jones’s dexterously plucked folk melodies and the skittering boom of Neilson’s jazzy rhythms. Though the obvious musical touchstones are Bert Jansch, Nick Drake and the baroque arrangements of Robert Kirby, Sound of Yell have a distinctive sound of their own.

Tracks such as Scuttling and Hitherto exude an aptly autumnal, melancholy warmth, albeit occasionally tinged with an ominously woozy sway. This is music of the earth and body, twilit, mossy and bucolic. It’s the sound of darkening afternoons and woodland beasties crawling from the mist, a kind of sad, gorgeous folk music performed by a virtuoso school concert orchestra on a spume-flecked shoreline. They conjure a bewitching spell.

Seen on 06.11.14