The Scotsman Sessions #118: Union of Knives & Helen Marnie

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on, with introductions from our critics. Here, Glasgow-based electro-rockers Union of Knives perform their new single, A Tall Tale, with Ladytron’s Helen Marnie

Glasgow-based electro rockers Union of Knives first flared briefly in the mid-2000s around the release of their debut album Violence and Birdsong, with their music featuring in Grey’s Anatomy and The Vampire Diaries.

Founder member Chris Gordon then put the band on furlough to concentrate on family and studio work but has recently revived the outfit with a fresh line-up including a new frontman, Anthony Thomaz, who hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but is now based in the rather less sultry Kirkintilloch.

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Drummer Pete Kelly returns from a decade on tour with The Kills and Ladytron, bringing the latter’s Helen Marnie into the fold for a couple of guest collaborations on forthcoming album Endless from the Start.

Anthony Thomaz of Union of KnivesAnthony Thomaz of Union of Knives
Anthony Thomaz of Union of Knives

“When the world was turning upside down earlier this year, we got busy finishing the album,” says Gordon. “We had just started working with Helen when things closed down so we never actually spent any time in the same room together. Files were pinged back and forth in the modern way, even though we only live a few miles apart. It was a productive time and having a creative outlet kept the grey matter from becoming grey mush.”

Their Scotsman Session, recorded in Gordon’s studio on the southside of Glasgow, is a version of new single A Tall Tale.

“I wanted to create a state of confusion and a feeling of being on the edge,” says Marnie. “But that feeling quickly disperses into something beautiful and hopeful when Anthony sings.”

“I was hypnotised by the track when I first heard it with Helen's ethereal vocals and delivery,” says Thomaz. “The repetitive mantra 'who am I' is a question we ask ourselves every day. For me it is like meditating while dancing.”

A Tall Tale is released on 23 October. Endless from the Start will follow in early 2021,

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