Standards Vol. IV by The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland
Spare arrangements and beguiling melodies
Don't be fooled by the perverse band name: The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland may be Scottish but they don't do Jazz and there's more than three members. Mind you, back in late eighties Glasgow, main songwriter Bill Wells first stepped into focus with The Bill Wells Octet, an actual Jazz combo with eight members! Since then his focus has shifted towards Pop, with many celebrated collaborations along the way with folk like Jim O’Rourke, Yo La Tengo, Isobel Campbell, Future Pilot A.K.A. and Jad Fair.
Oh, and to be clear, Standards IV is actually the fourth installment in their ongoing series of whimsical Pop songs (not further flippant naming fun).
Like their previous albums (which includes a fine collection of Christmas songs) the acoustic music on offer will satisfy fans of spare arrangements and beguiling melodies. And while the songs are singalong and the clever lyrics memorable, there's a vulnerability and poignancy in the vocal delivery of Kate Sugden that makes you really listen; double-tracked and harmonic, sometimes only backed by a picked guitar or a piano or simple percussion, she hits the notes without effort or fanfare but with a detached emotion. Give it a few listens and you too will be warbling along to songs about depression, adversity and other bleak subjects, which is a key goal behind the project: bringing light to darkness.
- Rating: 9/10
- Listens: 35
- Highlight: Anticipated Sentence
- Label: Karaoke Kalk
- Release Date: 13th Apr 2018