Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Album Review: The Savings and Loan - Today I Need Light

There's a long line of miserabilist bands, too numerous to mention here, which generally featured a brooding, baritone singer.  Current exponents of this would be Tindersticks, The National and you can add Scotland's The Savings and Loan to this list.  Consisting of singer Martin Donnelly and Andrew Bush who appears to do the fancy stuff, their debut full length, Today I Need Light opens with the slow, deliberate guitar strum of Swallows.  Vaguely reminiscent of Nick Cave, with a dash of Fearghal McKee thrown in, it sets a mood which is unyielding throughout the nine tracks found here, The Virgin's Lullaby and Catholic Boys In The Rain are an even more Cave-sounding tracks.
Some steel guitar gives a country feel to a couple of the tracks here like the weary Lit Out where Donnelly is "tired of London and tired of life", while Her Window and the prettily snail-paced Met (a Storm) features a nice bit of brass, not a million miles away from Tindersticks.  On the opposite end of the scale there's a black as coal version of Star of the County Down, which has a curious charm to it.
The album finishes with perhaps its finest song A Pleasing Companion which I can only describe as like an unholy marriage of Richmond Fontaine and Lou Reed in his Berlin period.  The album doesn't reinvent the wheel but it doesn't pretend to either.  Simply, a bunch of melancholic tunes that sit well with fans of moody rock.