Burnt Island
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Burnt Island

Band Folk Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The List - Live Review: Mono, Glasgow ****"

This was the launch party for Music & Maths, the debut album from the group christened after Scotland’s most evocatively named place – but Burnt Island’s supporting cast wasn’t bad either. The Second Hand Marching Band and Benni Hemm Hemm, two youthful names to watch, teamed up first, with the more experienced Aidan Moffat delivering a set which saw Burnt Island singer Rodge Glass declare him ‘Scotland’s future poet laureate’. And why not, while we’re swapping media? After all, Glass is better known himself as a novelist, critic and biographer of Alasdair Gray.

In his neat white shirt and smart trousers, the singer looked like he was dressed for a book signing, but he seemed perfectly at home on stage. The band (four boys and a girl) played a gentle kind of indie-folk which sailed along on Rik Evans’ violin and Amber Comerford’s soft backing vocals, but Glass is the real presence here. His vocals are strong, the melodies bittersweet, his performance of the lyrics during tracks like ‘The Moments Before’ and ‘Man on Fire’ strong and focused. Which is quite unsurprising, given his day job. - David Pollock

"The List - Album Review: 'Music and Maths' ****"

Subtlety is in thin supply in today’s overwrought music scene, so it’s refreshing to hear a beautiful and understated debut like this. Glasgow-based nu-folkers Burnt Island are based around author and all-round renaissance man Rodge Glass, and this mini-album is a gentle but hugely accomplished slice of modern melancholy, in debt to the atmospheric musings of James Yorkston and the sharp lyricism of Leonard Cohen.

Flute and viola infuse proceedings with a folky feel, while the stripped down arrangements of ‘Man on Fire’ and the shrewdly anthemic title track expose sumptuous melodies and well-crafted songwriting. An auspicious debut. - Doug Johnstone

"The Scotsman - Live Review: Mono, Glasgow ****"

LYRICAL. That seems like a good place to start describing Burnt Island. They're folksy in the most credible fashion, a soft collision of heart-warming balladry and the kind of fey, literate indie-pop which Glasgow moves to. Also, let's be honest, no

band in the city could look more foppish, could wear their beards and sideburns and skinny jeans with as much diligent style as this lot.

Only their violinist and glockenspiel player Rik Evans's cowboy hat and Amber Comerford's smart dress distract from the essential indie-boyishness of the landscape – well, those and the lead vocals of Rodge Glass, erstwhile novelist and biographer of Alasdair Gray.

Amidst the gentle wash of songs such as Man on Fire and Music & Maths, the soft arrangement of Evans's playing, Comerford's backing vocals and guitarist (and Scotsman writer) Malcolm Jack's playing are second string to Glass's voice.

It's masculine but tender, reminiscent of Nick Cave or Ian McCulloch in places, and contains an in-built sense of the poetry of the spoken word. The Moments Before's chorus of "this city is mine for an hour / it's mine for a minute / its mine til you say so" flows particularly beautifully.

So this launch show for their debut album, also named Music & Maths, was a success, and a fine showcase for a welcome new band. Even when the DJs engaged in a shouted argument mid-song and Glass had to calm them down: "I don't know if they need another drink," quipped the singer, reaching for his glass, "but I do". Because even authors and indie boys like a bit of banter. - David Pollock

"The Sunday Herald - Album Review: 'Music and Maths' ****"

Renaissance man of Glasgow arts Rodge Glass has already produced a couple of novels, a biography of Alasdair Gray and a wide range of journalism. Now here is his music, six tracks recorded at Chemikal Underground’s Chem 19 studios with Davey McAuley, of Strike The Colours, in the producer’s chair. And this mini-album is an impressive calling card. Glass has an idiosyncratic approach to songwriting, with well-crafted lyrics spilling over one another like a meditative Kevin Rowland. The Prefab Sprout comparison is apt because of the presence of harmonious co-vocalist Amber Comerford. In fact, the inventive instrumentation (Rik Evans’s viola and Comerford’s flute alongside Malcolm Jack’s fine guitar sound) is at least 50% responsible for the success of the recordings. The melody of the title track aside, however, the job of grabbing the ear is left to the words, and best achieved on opener A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again and closer Me And All Of My Friends Are Alright. - Keith Bruce

"Scotland on Sunday - Album Review: 'Music and Maths' ****"

The nu-folk sound of this Glasgow band with a name from Fife refreshes the parts that wistful indie does not normally reach. Formed by writer Rodge Glass and his associate Malcolm Jack, Burnt Island are charmingly literate on this six-song debut.

The title song undulates with subtle melody, sitting gently with the mildly more robust Me And All Of My Friends Are Alright, which stands comparison with the work of Stephen Fretwell. Rik Evans's chilly viola gives Man On Fire an edge, and Glass's gift for wrapping mystery in an enigma is declared early in the opening A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. - Colin Somerville

"The Scotsman - Album Review: 'Music and Maths' ****"

THESE days Rodge Glass is best known as a novelist and Alasdair Gray's biographer but his musical aspirations were reignited after collaborating with Vashti Bunyan for the acclaimed Ballads Of The Book project and the sweet, at times slightly sultry sound of Burnt Island is the happy result. The group's debut mini-album, named after the two universal languages, is a beautiful collection of folk pop laments, delicately arranged with guitar, strings and woodwind, and suffused with melancholy.

Although opening track A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again doesn't live up to its wry title, the rest of the material is fragile, haunting and often sounds timeless, with Glass's velveteen voice complemented by intuitive harmonising from flautist Amber Comerford and other members of the group. - Fiona Shepherd

"The Skinny - Album Review: 'Music and Maths' ****"

To Music and Maths, add a double period of English, for Burnt Island’s debut is a decidedly literary affair. Led by author Rodge Glass and partly inspired by David Foster Wallace, you’d expect great lyrics at the very least, and Glass doesn’t disappoint, with the slight A New Start the bittersweet peak. Musically, his band match the high standard: the title track’s soulful swells and the flute and viola soaked opening croon A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again are the highlights, but in truth there isn’t a misplaced note to be found. Amber Comerford’s harmonising tones on the likes of Man On Fire add a welcome additional texture, and the overall effect is one of modest splendour. - Chris Buckle


'Music and Maths' mini-album (Chaffinch Records): 15/03/10

1. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
2. Hiding Out
3. Man on Fire
4. A New Start
5. Music and Maths
6. Me and All of My Friends Are Alright

'The Moments Before' single (Dead Light Records): 30/11/09

1. The Moments Before
2. Timeless Colour



Burnt Island is based around the songs of Rodge Glass (vocals, acoustic guitar). It has evolved several times since being formed in 2006, with various friends coming and going dependent on life changes, work and occasionally emigration.

The current and at last stable line-up includes Rodge’s long-serving collaborator Malcolm Jack (electric guitar, vocals), Rik Evans (viola), Amber Comerford (flute, vocals) and Andrew Campbell (bass, keys, vocals).

The band have been Vic Galloway’s ‘Unsigned Heroes’ on his BBC Radio Scotland show, and played at both the Triptych and Connect festivals, as well as supported - and been supported by - the likes of Aidan Moffat, Emma Pollock, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Hjaltalin, Sleeping States, The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Strike the Colours and Erland and the Carnival. Rodge, also a novelist and biographer, contributed to Ballads of the Book, an album released in 2007 by Chemikal Underground Records which featured collaborations between authors and musicians. He co-wrote and performed the track ‘The Fire’ with folk legend Vashti Bunyan.

Burnt Island's debut single, 'The Moments Before', was released on Dead Light Records on November 30th 2009. Their critically-acclaimed debut six-track mini-album, 'Music and Maths' was released on Chaffinch Records on March 15th 2010.