[sic] Magazine

Flutes – Flutes

Flutes’ eponymous debut album hit my turntable last month and it’s been like a little explosion in my record collection. Not since There Will Be Fireworks debut (or Travis’ The Man Who before them) have I heard a record by a Scottish band literally grab me by the shirt collar and hold my attention so completely. In the space of a month, I’ve fallen in love with Flutes. I’m totally in.

There’s something to be said for purchasing an album by a band I’d never heard of who have chosen to release said album on their own label – exclusively in vinyl format – however that’s exactly what I’ve found myself doing purely on the basis of a simple recommendation from Avalanche Records in Edinburgh.

We can talk about emotion, aggression, anger, danger, despair. It’s all here – in spades.

The quality of songwriting and musicianship from Flutes is nothing short of outstanding. In particular, the bass and drums both deserve a big mention. During ‘It’s What’s Between That Makes Us Happy’, the sheer overall sound puts a great big grin on my face and makes me a very, very happy man indeed. It’s the sound of a band perfectly in sync with each other, knowing when to respond to each other – as vocalist Godfrey McFall sings during ‘Dolores’, “we’re wires that never cross”. There are moments during a number of songs where the band could easily have played the “volume wars”, i.e. each musician adding a further level of volume (and you even expect it too!), but just as the building drums climax, the song instead drops back to almost a whisper only to be built back up again. Clever.

How ‘Auld Archie’ hasn’t been a massive hit is anyone’s guess. It’s the best song you’ve never heard. New single ‘Kilburn’ commences with all the Scottish ingredients in place only to tear them all down; I doubt that there are many Songwriters who could write a line as good as “Burns said he could have predicted this. What did he know?” .

The album’s not completely flawless. Stripped-down acoustic track ‘This Is A Lift’ feels a little out of place, but really – I’m being picky.

There’s an incredible high which comes right at the end of the album; ‘Sand’ commences with the greeting “It’s you I build Scottish ships for” . I simply love that line – and also the way it’s delivered. Though politicians might try, there’s no response which can match an outburst like that. Like the sound of pent-up anger from a man who has lived his life only to discover that the final chapters aren’t as he’s always imagined.

Right at the end of the album, McFall sings “Come Back I’ll catch you dear” . I’ll be waiting right here.

Flutes Website