Although Glaswegian singer-songwriter Rody Hart is often associated the contemporary Scottish folk scene, he’s actually much more of an indie/rock artist, past albums having garnered comparisons to the likes of Springsteen, Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Steve Forbert, Van Morrison and Lloyd Cole.
In the past, I’ve remarked that he’s often in thrall to his musical heroes and that’s again in striking evidence here with Tiny Miracles and the emotive Berlin, calling to mind Simple Minds and U2. Indeed, others have noted touches of Arcade Fire and Talking Heads (consciously so on Low Light) to the album, titled, incidentally, from the Scots slang for being uncertain as to which course of action to choose.
But, while comparisons are as invidious as they are inevitable, they don’t dilute the quality of his songs or, backed by his six-piece band, the power of his performance. So, while even his own press release points to echoes of The National or Midlake on We’re The Immortals, what you take away from listening isn’t the comparison, but the fact that it’s a terrific slow marching anthemic ballad that builds to a driving finale.
Indeed, Hart produces good ballads, further evidence here in the shape of In the Arms of California, the gauzily atmospheric, sad waltzing I Thought I Could Change Your Mind with, accompanied by forlorn horns, its closing refrain of “I won’t come to your house anymore, I know that you won’t answer the door” before collapsing into a sonic frazzle and heading straight into the rockier Strange Addictions and, keeping the pace surging, the Lloyd Cole meets Springsteen touches of Sliding.
Elsewhere, No Monsters is a particularly fine, darkly pulsing, keyboard led mid-tempo number, while Faint Echo of Loneliness rings the changes with a sparse, but gradually building bone-dry bluesy number that might have come from another world’s Unforgettable Fire outtakes. So, yeh, you can play spot the musical namecheck if you have to, but you’d be far better off to stop such swithering and just turn up the volume, and appreciate one of the finest musicians to have come out of Glasgow in the past decade.
Out on 25 November via Middle of Nowhere