Unkle Bob

21st Century Man.

In My Head has been lifted from Unkle Bob’s stunning new album Shockwaves. This “new-age” Byrdsian lament – which features bassist Chloe harmonising the line “it gets so hard”,  the perfect (if incongruous) backdrop to Webster’s “only in my head will I ever find some peace” - is as humble as it is heartfelt. Shockwaves, the album itself, is the follow up to the critically lauded Sugar and Spite (released in 2006), a record that made the band something of a cult phenomenon in the US; their songs have since sound-tracked countless US teen dramas (spawning well over 100,000 downloads in the process) whilst the song Swans featured in the climax to a Greys Anatomy storyline and inspired literally hundreds of college kids to make their own Swans videos. You can see some of their efforts (as well as a selection of tantalising Unkle Bob ephemera) on an EPK accessible here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYCiU_106D8

Unkle Bob are Rick Webster (vocals, guitar), Stuart Cartwright (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin), Ron Yeadon (keyboards, percussion), Chloe Treacher (bass) and Nick Foot (drums). Genuinely loved (and a well-kept secret like Teenage Fanclub and early REM) they’re naturally, effortlessly one of the most gorgeous and uplifting bands on the planet. Q magazine suggested that Sugar and Spite was “reminiscent of early REM – really very lovely indeed” whilst MOJO noted that it was “warm-melancholic as Prefab Sprout or icy-isolated as Radiohead” and that the band hurled themselves “from reflection to ripped-up despair in a moment.” The Times allowed that we shouldn’t “be surprised if this Glasgow-born quintet are still selling albums 20 years from now because they have a deadly weapon in their armoury; great songs” and one listen to Shockwaves reveals this to be pertinence indeed.

Shockwaves opens with Satellite  which enjoys the lyric “I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know where the world went wrong, I don’t kno where the band belong” and you know immediately you’re in the presence of one of us. Of course, when Webster sings “You’re not a star, you’re just a satellite” you’re not sure whether this is a comment on the current state of the music business or just something a girlfriend has conjectured at an inopportune moment. It matters not for the rest of Shockwaves is similarly beguiling: Proud is a lovelorn letter from a parent to a child or a lover to a loved one (and as moving as REM’s Everybody Hurts); Let It Go is tender advice wrapped up as a love song; best of all, So Sorry appears to be three songs in one and an apology for something you can’t possibly be guilty of – “so sorry that you don’t feel better when I look into your eyes.” It’s enough to make you weak.

In My Head was produced by Saul Davies (James guitarist/Sugar and Spite producer) whilst Shockwaves was produced both by Davies and Ken Nelson (Coldplay, Charlatans).

Praise indeed:

“A bittersweet album full of lovely pop tunes.” The Sunday Times

“Rick Webster is a master of the lovelorn, desperate lyric.” The Times.

“A folk group for the Coldplay Generation.” WORD

“FAB. Just imagine fellow Scots Teenage Fanclub doing full-tilt hypnotic Neil Young-style razor rock.” The Mirror.



TimeOut Magazine

Mojo Magazine