Those of us somewhat long in the tooth may remember The Kissing Bandits and their lead singer, Ronnie Costley. The Bandits were majot players in Glasgow in the 80’s, playing a grand mix of garage rock, post punk and power pop with Costley a commanding presence on stage with a hint of Lux Interior present. Despite being signed to WEA, the Bandits never hit the big time and they went their separate ways with Costley locating to Ireland where he still lives. He continues to make music and Blabber’n’Smoke, alongside deejays such as Iain Anderson, were impressed by his album, Souvenirs & Scotch Mist, his recollections of growing up in the west of Scotland which came out a few years back.
Matter Of Time (as was Souvenirs & Scotch Mist) was recorded with many of Costley’s compadres in the Glasgow music scene and here he offers us a countrified collection of four songs, all distinct from each other and all, in their own way, quite entrancing.
The EP opens with the title song as a zippy acoustic slide guitar glides into this rippling slice of upbeat jangled celebration. Costley here achieves the almost impossible task of recalling Gene Clark as he sings, “When rhyme and reason seem impossible to find and dreams are shackled to the past, you have to realise it’s just a state of mind and you can let it go, no need to make it last.” Allied to these Zen like words of wisdom is some fantastic playing as the song is buoyed along on a welter of acoustic guitars and banjo along with some whip smart electric guitar solos. No Money Coming In is a much simpler song which recalls the early work of Gerry Rafferty (especially on his debut album, Can I Have My Money Back) with Costley singing of the monetary woes of being a working musician. We were especially intrigued here by the opening farmyard birds squawking as a lonesome piano played some bars from Rally Round The Flag.
Away from the farmyard, Costley then launches into the eminently danceable Hey, You Want To Dance With Me which lurches magnificently with full-blown mariachi horns over groovy organ and licktastic guitar. It’s short, over almost before it begins, but it captures some of that joi de vivre which The Mavericks do so well, and if, god forbid, it gets out into the wild, could be the wedding song of next year. It’s a pity there’s only four songs here but the last one certainly leaves the listener with some puzzlement. How’s The World Treating You is an odd conglomeration of tin pan alley, syrupy country and gonzo rock with a dash of The Kinks thrown in. Aside from Costley’s acute capture of a lonesome drunk there’s creamy pedal steel guitar buttering his lyrics along with a demented guitar solo midway which is allied to a heavenly chorus. Odd indeed but strangely addictive.
Matter Of Time is available here.