Sons and Daughters | DNO163
This Gift is a whirlwind of tarnished sixties glamour and post-millennial celebrity culture, cult-films and literary classics. Executed in contrasting honeyed and caustic tones, with the arresting songwriting and fervent performance that is Sons And Daughters. It is the work of a band eclipsing its own distinct and critically acclaimed reputation, reaching beyond the elegantly crafted boundaries of their previous records with a new ambition and richness of sound. The product of the bands own characteristic intensity and the combative challenge set by the albums famously uncompromising producer Bernard Butler. "He's very, very tough. He doesn't sugar-coat anything." Explains Scott Patterson of the former Suede guitarist. Approached by Domino's Laurence Bell to produce the album, Butler agreed under the proviso that the band take whatever punches he threw at them, "They played me their new songs. I thought that they had a lot of drama and passion, but needed channelling. My message to them was: don't be afraid of writing pop songs. I only had to bring out what was already there..." Band and producer found common ground in mutual appreciation of Joe Meek, The Smiths, the unspoken truths of provincial Britain and the swinging girl groups of pop's Golden Age.
The result? An album that races from the rasping "Gilt Complex," through the souring "Split Lips" - featuring Robbie Stern of Cajun Dance Party on violin - to the Edwyn Collins strut of "The Nest." Hits driving garage rock on "Rebel With The Ghost" via 60s girl-group stomps Darling and Flags, and all along hints at the bands ability to conjure up atmospheres of disturbing unease, most notably on "Iodine" and the desert rock meets Gaelic war cry of the title track.
For the last five years Sons And Daughters have fashioned a distinct sound, image and story. Inspired by the melancholy storytelling of Lee Hazlewood, the lyricism of Bill Callaghan and Leonard Cohen, and the raw power of country, blues and folk. The Glasgow-based four-piece breathed life into this world through the punk blues of 2004's debut Love The Cup and 2005's The Repulsion Box. Winning fans in Nick Cave, Franz Ferdinand and the critics who marked Sons And Daughters out as a unique group of fine taste and judgment. With This Gift, Sons And Daughters have completed a remarkable coup. Raging against the constrains of a genre they created, taking on the vision of an idealized Britain, and in turn creating the most powerful of pop records.