I first heard of Call To Mind when Neil at Scottish Fiction asked me to review their A Family Sketch single last year. I was instantly struck by the sheer beauty of the track which was one of the best things I heard last year and, given that 2013 was a Depeche Mode release year, that says a lot. Happily, their debut album The Winter Is White (Olive Grove Records) builds on the power of A Family Sketch, giving us of the most exciting debut albums of the year.
The album opens with A Family Sketch, meaning that you're instantly hooked. To my ears, the band's Highlands roots give this album its' atmospheric feel, much in the same way Sigur Ros' music puts you in mind of wandering around Iceland even if you haven't been there. January (You Are All I See) follows A Family Sketch and we continue on the almost ambient in parts, almost motorik in others path which is no bad thing at all. Energy//Blast, the fantastic The Wound & The Gift and Passing Drumochter round off Side 1 (yes this is a vinyl review and yes there's that Highlands influence - see?). The Wound & The Gift is a beautiful song with a piano line that sits quite far back in the mix but grabs you before you're hit with some almost My Bloody Valentine like feedback guitar as the song ends. Clever stuff
Side two opens with the almost poppy Breathe which should be a smash hit single if there's any justice. The second half of the album is more conventional perhaps that the first half but that's absolutely fine. The band aren't frightened to mix experimental with more straightforward music and both styles compliment each other perfectly. Over The Machair follows Breathe and it's another song that takes you on a journey that you won't forget. Untitled, Sightlines and the marvellous Chemotherapy round off the album and straightaway you want to get back up, turn it over and start playing it again.
This is s special album and is another example of why the Scottish music scene is in its' most vibrant state for years. More and more bands are releasing great quality work and Call To Mind are right there at the forefront. You must hear this album.
Call To Mind website
Call To Mind Facebook
Call To Mind Twitter
Olive Grove Records website