James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band: High Fences
Dead Record Collective – 15 December 2017
Almost four years since the release of their debut album, the Glasgow sextet, James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band, return with a solid and harder-edged set of guitar-driven alt-country, surging out of the starting gate with Passing San Ysidro, Neil McDonald laying down a muscular beat. Things slow down slightly with the five-minute Try Not To Think of Now, Ronnie Gilmour’s electric guitar and Scott Keenan keys providing the bedrock behind Edwyn’s keening vocals.
The slouching groove of the bluesy drawled speak-sing Get Back Up has hints of the Band before they flesh out the sound on the stand out Pushing Statues, a cosmic country coloured shuffle that, calling the late Bap Kennedy to mind, brings in a brass section and Tim Davidson on pedal steel. The brass boys also hang around for the mid-tempo swayer Quoting Sagan with its chorus surges and soulful groove, while, in direct contrast, Never In A While strips everything down to just Edwyn on acoustic guitar.
With its chiming guitars and gentle melodic sway, Starlet is a particular low key highlight, Emma Joyce’s harmonies adding extra colour, the album ending on two ebb and flow slow waltzers with Burning Man and, Gilmour’s plangent background guitar underscoring Edwyn’s soulful broken-spirit delivery, Doubts.
Although it might have made more sense to hold back the release until after Christmas, there’s no faulting what they do. The fences may be high in their chosen genre, but they vault them with confidence and ease.
Order High Fences here: http://www.jamesedwynandtheborrowedband.bigcartel.com/