Never mind the clocks going forward, the arrival of a new Dropkick album surely heralds that summer is a coming. Always a band of a sunny disposition, Dropkick are so popular in Spain these days that it’s surprising the disc doesn’t come with a tube of sun cream but it is being jointly released via Spanish label Pretty Olivia Records although it was recorded in the band’s Edinburgh studio.
Andrew Taylor remains front and centre here as he has done over the course of 14 albums and his song writing is as melodic and snappy as ever. Over the years the remainder of the band has seen several changes and Longwave sees Edinburgh’s Al Shields (here given his Sunday name, Alan) take on bass guitar duties. The songs continue in the vein of Teenage Fanclub and Big Star among others but Taylor adds enough sonic variety and twists and turns to remind one that this is a Dropkick album with his wispy voice the lynchpin while the band’s harmonies are just glorious. There are several straight ahead power pop crackers on show here starting off with the corkscrew jangle of guitars on the opening number, Out of Tune, the jolly romp of All I Understand and the crunchy Fed Up which has a slight Velvet Underground grind while the outro is decidedly Chilton like. Pedal steel (courtesy of Tim Davidson) is used to fine effect on the sunny pastoral reverie which is Blue Skies and the delicate piano led ballad Faraway Places while Giving Way opens with a burbling synthesiser before a walloping bass line and chunky guitar chords drive the song forward before a warm fuzzy guitar solo buzzes in and the song descends (ascends actually) into a closing stramash of backwards sounds, guitar and synth.
There are some clouds obscuring the sunny side of life at times with I Thought I Was OK a wistful portrait of a pessimist, a theme continued on It’s Still Raining although here it’s bolstered with a sparkling delivery. See You There positively drips with melancholy and the chiming Even When You’re Gone hides the sadness in the lyrics with some fine George Harrison like guitar licks. Taylor addresses the seasons and the advent of winter on the tender acoustic closing song, Turning Of The Tide. A lovely little number which recalls McCartney’s acoustic contributions to latter day Beatles it ultimately ends on a note of optimism. So, another Dropkick album and hence, another cause for celebration, embrace them before they decamp to Spain forever.
Dropkick are playing this weekend at Glasgow’s Hug & Pint and Edinburgh’s Sneaky Pete’s. The Glasgow show is sold out but they are also doing in store appearances at Love Records and Assai Records each day. They return to Scotland for several shows later in April, all dates here.