Thursday, August 23, 2012

EP Review: The Savings and Loan EP

The Savings and Loan is a curiously-named band from Scotland who released this self-titled EP in 2007.  Singer Martin Donnelly is a vocalist from the Nick Cave/Fearghal McKee/Matt Berninger school of singing so this is perfectly pitched for a good old mope.
The EP is bookended by These Hands and Those Hands, effectively the same song in two short versions, the latter being slightly more exuberant.  Introducing the album is Andrew Bush’s (or possibly Donnelly's) plaintive acoustic guitar playing, while Donnelly croons “good evening friends and welcome in, to broken skin on broken skin”.
Swallows has well-worn guitar picking which to any student of Morrissey etc will sound instantly like you can’t believe you haven’t heard it before.  The Virgin’s Lullaby is slightly more Cave-like, all brushed percussion and distorted vocals.  Catholic Boys In The Rain is in a similar vein, introduced by a recording of Scottish poet Tom Leonard reading a list of alcoholic drinks, appropriate as this track will remind some listeners of Irish band Whipping Boy.
After the sweet-sounding Her Window and the glacially-paced Met (A Storm) the EP ends with the crescendo (relative to the rest) of Those Hands, with drums and even electric guitar.  Much of this material ended up on their debut album proper, Today I Need Light, released in 2010 but this is a very promising EP.  It’s not hugely original and Donnelly and Bush sound like a pair of undertakers but they get this sort of thing SO right.  It’s available for free download from http://thesavingsandloan.bandcamp.com/album/the-savings-and-loan-ep