Bonny and bleak

May 13, 2008

No one does depressing music quite like the Scots. Really. The bleary-eyed ruminations of Arab Strap, the noisy melancholia of Mogwai, the suicidal doom of The Jesus and Mary Chain. The Norwegians and Swedes don’t seem to have any better weather but they’ve embraced the high camp of Black Metal and disco pop. It takes a Scot to really break your heart.

Last year saw the emergence of The Twilight Sad with their brooding dramatic rock opus Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters. The Scottish accent of James Graham made them stand out even more than otherwise – and the consistency of their sound over the course of an LP made them a unique act.

Not quite so unique, now that fellow Glaswegian miserabilists Frightened Rabbit have dropped their debut effort. FR are a bit more shambolic than The Twilight Sad, who somehow sound like they’ve been drilled into a fighting force of rock. But they’ve got the same chiming Arcade Fire-like indie powerhouse sound and the same bleak lyrics sung in what can only be describes with words like “brogue”.

If you like your music anthemic and your lyrics full of despair, then Team Scotland is still where you have to go.

The Twilight Sad – “And She Would Darken The Memory”

Frightened Rabbit – “Fast Blood”



  1. i much prefer frightened rabbit. their album may appear miserable at first glance but the more you listen to it the more you can hear the humour that runs through the whole work. how can you not at least smile when you hear a line like ‘you’re the shit and i’m knee deep in it’ ? or when they open a song with ‘ jesus is just a spanish boy’s name. how come one man got so much fame?’

  2. Good point. I love those lines!

  3. depressed, but aware that the depression is a typical phase in an intelligent person’s life and therefore commenting on it in a self-depreciatingly and amused manner. why do i identify, i wonder?

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