Book Group make a welcome return to Dundee this weekend with a headline show at the Cool Cat Club at Beat Generator Live on Saturday (24th) to mark the release of their excellent second E.P. ‘Tantrums’.
‘Tantrums’ is without doubt their best record to date – it’s one of those records that demands that you play it over and over (and over) again. Collecting together 3 new tracks and the one old favourite that had stubbornly refused to be recorded til now, it’s an intoxicating mixture of guitars and melody.
Lead track ‘Hear Is Too Near’ unquestionably lives up to that description but it’s also something of an oddity for me for two reasons. Not only is it the first recorded track of theirs that I’d never previously heard live but it’s also the first song that makes me think that it sounds like something else . In this case the ‘something else’ is early Teenage Fanclub doing Dinosaur Jr’s ‘Freak Scene’ and fortunately HITN is more than good enough to live up to that very illustrious pedigree.
Second track ‘Get Up and Go Go Go’ matches HITN in every department (particularly with its insanely catchy main hook) and it could easily have filled the lead off slot.
Jumping ahead to the closing track, ‘Best Regards’ is the heaviest thing that they’ve released to date but never, it has to be said, at the expense of melody. In fact it’s a track with many classic rock tropes – guitars that crunch and wail, pulsing bass lines and call and response vocals. Yet it also finishes deceptively early with a quiet section which other less subtle bands might have used as an excuse for the resumption of hostilities.
‘A Rough Wooing’ is the last of the original live set (that’s survived) to make it to vinyl. If the other three tracks are guitar driven ARW is a more subtle beast with Scott’s languid bass, Andrew’s percussion and Graeme’s keys giving it a different feel to the rest of the E.P.. Instead of riffing ferociously, Michael’s guitar almost jangles throughout helping the song to stand out as one of their very best.
In conclusion ‘Tantrums’ manages to distill the the tunes and excitement of a Book Group gig onto the grooves of one beautiful 10” slab of vinyl. Buy it at the gig on Saturday or online here – you won’t regret it.
Whilst I go and put the E.P. back on (again), Scott and Graeme from the band undergo the MPT Inquisition …
What or who first got you into music?
S- My parents. They played Prefab Sprout and U2 really loud and made us dance (not for money).
G – I think for me it was Top of the Pops and the Chart Show. Used to love Saturday mornings waiting to see if it would be the indie or rock chart that they would show.
What was the first record you ever bought for yourself?
S- Skee-lo, I wish.
G – Michael Jackson – Bad
And the most recent?
S- Yamon Yamon – Uisu
G – Love Letters by Metronomy
What was the first gig you attended?
S- Doves at Liquid Rooms. They murdered the one tune I went to hear.
G – Whiteout / Thrum at Lucifer’s Mill, Dundee
And the most recent?
S- Broken Records.
G – Withered Hand at The Liquid Rooms.
Do you have a favourite all-time gig you’ve been to?
S- The Cribs at Liquid Rooms. Carnage. Stage diving. Collapsing stage. Disappearing security guards. Mental.
G – Either The Strokes / The Moldy Peaches / Mull Historical Society @ The Venue, Edinburgh, the Longpigs @ Lucifers Mill or The Flaming Lips @ Garage, Glasgow
Favourite five records?
S- Elbow – Asleep in the Back, Radiohead – Kid A, De Rosa – Mend, Jeff Buckley – Grace and Blue Nile – Hats
G- Mighty Joe Moon by Grant Lee Buffalo, The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips, Deserter’s Songs by Mercury Rev, Worst Case Scenario by dEUS and Under the Western Freeway by Grandaddy.
What are your favourite books?
S- Anything by Christopher Hitchens.
G – Espedair Street by Iain Banks. He still rocks my world. Also loving Oliver Jeffers just now.
What are your favourite authors?
S – Chris Hitchens, John Fowles, Chris Brookmyre
G – Iain Banks, Oliver Jeffers and Mark Haddon
Favourite films/television programmes?
S – Nah
G – Oh, Scott’s too cool for TV! I’m currently loving a box set. House. Prison Break. Game of Thrones. All fab! Favourite film has to be an 80s movie. Probably ‘The Secret of My Success’. Michael J Fox is the man!
If someone made a film about Book Group who would you like to play you and why?
S- Andy Kaufman. Because no one got him either.
G – Dan Akroyd.
If your house caught fire what would be the first thing you tried to save once you knew your family were safe?
S- Actually would be my acoustic guitar!
G – A couple of records (the 5 named above) and photo albums.
From the E.P.: