Porky has had a soft spot for The Proclaimers since he borrowed their spectacles in 1987, the year they released their semi-acoustic, but sizzling debut, Throw The R Away. They no longer sing about their Scottish accent or away trips in Scottish football, and focus more on love, family life, and everything that the world can throw their way. Their latest album, Like Comedy (Cooking Vinyl) is the sound of two men maturing, and they even explain this organic change on Women and Song, “A hundred years ago/ I thought happiness was ice cream and football/ But time went by so fast/ Till I couldn’t see their attractions at all.”
Nevertheless, despite their affection “for the lassies” there are the occasional nods to the national game, such as on the opener, where the brothers hope for a good season on account of their main foes’ poor defence. Their standing within Scottish musical circles is not without a doubt: tours are sold out from Kirkcudbright to Kirkwall, and they have not forgotten their homeland, or the accents even though they no longer sing in their Perthshire brogue: “There’s you lying on your quilt/ There’s your west of Scotland lilt/ Singing me your guilt.”
It’s a typical Proclaimers mix of folk and country lurching from the reflective Dance With Me to the stirring There’s, though the highlight is the title track, which starts with one of the Reid brothers (they’re twins so fuck knows who’s at the mic) singing plaintively before both Craig and Charlie rouse their vocal chords with enough energy to wake up a morgue as they observe how life moves on form the days of hellraising.
The Proclaimers have often been the source of ridicule with their glasses and the pasty-puff cover that was King of the Road, but Like Comedy sees them finding some form as the folicles disappear and the kids are of an age where they can do exactly what their dads did in their youth.
The Proclaimers are a product of Auchermuchty but Garbage owes much of its success to their Edinburgh-born lead singer, Shirley Manson, who was once a part of the criminally under-rated Goodbye Mr MacKenzie. Garbage had a sparkling self-titled debut in 1995 which was a prod in the belly of Britpop with a lukewarm fork. This was how grunge should have evolved, retaining much of the noise and passion but channelling that into a sound that was feisty but electro-charged and adventurous.
Manson is certainly feisty and kicks off Not Your Kind of People (Stun Volume/ Liberator Music) – in velicose mood, on Automatic Systematic Habit, bellowing LIES LIES LIES at a presumed former lover, before telling us why exactly she’s slightly peed off. “Oh men like you keep me up at night/ you want your woman at home and your bit on the side.” Which is all well and good but I can’t imagine a male singer saying the same thing, replacing men with women and escaping being labelled sexist.
Plenty of fuzzy guitars abound, Manson adopts a near-rap style on Blood for Poppies and it has a frenetic feel, as if they’re keen to make up for lost time. Control is a track that could have fitted on their debut, with its choppy beats and rousing verse. It’s followed by the title track that brings the mood down a notch, and is the weak link in an album that fails to break new ground, though that may not have been the purpose. This is an album whose objective is to reclaim some ground away from the emo bands, Radiohead and even the Gaga generation.