Although Edinburgh has never been a city particularly noted for its brimming music scene, exuberant nightlife or abundance of underground subcultures; scratch a little beneath the surface and you may well find more than you bargain for.
Understandably, local bands are something of a hit-and-miss in almost any city. Such is the nature of any group of young lads who fancy a stab at being the next Gallagher brothers being able to write, record and release at their fingertips while booking venues to play – spotting an occasional burst of raw talent can be a somewhat dragging affair. Nonetheless, it takes nothing away from when something a little bit special does come along.
Review of Forever More by The Merrylees
For the moment, that burst of excitement in Edinburgh comes from a band called The Merrylees. A potent blend of western psychedelia, melodic pop and blues-rock. They have already attracted some well deserved attention from some pretty well-known figures – having been produced by Bill Ryder-Jones of The Coral on their single ‘For You’ last year; and more recently by Richard Hawley (Pulp/Longpigs) on their latest release ‘Forever More’. Fronted by Ryan Sandison and Simon Allan – whose harmonies act as kingpin to the band’s distinctive sound – the band have also held notable support slots for the likes of Temples, Babyshambles and – more recently – Paul Weller. Merge all of the above together with messages of support on Twitter from Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting/Filth) and Vicky McClure (A Room For Romeo Brass/This Is England), to name but a few – not to mention a nomination for ‘Best New Band’ at The Scottish Variety Awards – and The Merrylees have many a reason to be cheerful indeed.
I was fortunate enough to catch the single launch of ‘Forever More’ at a packed Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh, last month. I had initially caught on to the band last October when they supported Temples at Electric Circus – and catching a full set while familiar with the tunes themselves certainly didn’t disappoint. Musicality and professionalism pours from this lot – as does a tightness onstage you could only come to expect from the very best. Their closing number, ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’ is a fitting tribute as a cover and offers a touch of class, while most certainly doing justice to the previous versions.
The Merrylees have stayed particularly true to tradition by offering their single releases on vinyl. Breaking through in the industry (whatever your definition of such a phrase may be) is harder now than ever. The digital age is making it inreasingly difficult for authenticity and talent alone to carry you through. However, at the end of the day; quality still talks – and if it is anything to by – there is still a bright future ahead for Edinburgh’s finest.
There are links below to The Merrylees‘ video for the latest single, ‘Forever More’ and the chance to purchase the 7″ vinyl which includes the B-side ‘The Wind That’s Following Me’.
– ‘Forever More’ video.
http://themerrylees.bigcartel.com/product/forever-more-vinyl - ‘Forever More/The Wind That’s Following Me’ 7″ vinyl.
By Robbie Thomson