The Razorbills
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The Razorbills


Band Folk Acoustic


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"FRoots Review of "To Hell With Youth & Beauty""

What notions can you conjure about a band who puts a wizened old fisherman on the front and a half side of pork on the reverse of their CD? Except maybe that they don't care about perceived age notions and are partial to a bacon butty. This could of course be pertinent to their attitude, which on closer inspection is refreshingly individualistic and somewhat bizarre. ...if you want an example look no further than DeForrest Kelley which has a cyclical fiddle line, thrashed guitar and a lyric about cobwebs and space invaders. Definitely the most toe-tapping item is Flower in the 60s - endless confusion and teenage mentality all too brief over a bouncy banjo. There are flashes of music hall about Something to Use (sic); Lie Easy could be the Incredible String Band in pop fisticuffs with 3 Daft Monkeys.

Vocalist and songwriter Alan McClure sounds like a lower register Robin Williamson, at his best with Love-15, an innocent reggae shuffle that has a delightfully slack drumbeat and fat sounding groove. i guess you could tag them as alt-folk or maybe indie-acoustic, whatever any of those ridiculois genre-tags mean. Chums of the once more active Shelagh Macdonald - hurrah! - they've been gigging together north of the border, yet The Razorbills are quirky and brassy enough to stand on their own. Idiosyncracy a go go.

- fRoots Review, May 2013

"R2 Review of "To Hell With Youth & Beauty""

The Razorbills - To Hell With Youth and Beauty
**** (4 stars)

The clue is in the album title. Scottish 'indie-folk-pop' band The Razorbills are not chasing the teen market. They're making music for grown-ups. It's primarily an acoustic line-up, with prominent banjo and mandolin from Harry Thomson and violin from Michelle McClure. But the sound is infused with an electric energy and unpredictable quirkiness which steers well clear of the overly praised Mumfords' territory.

Alan McClure, lead vocalist and chief songwriter, is a distinctive talent, sometimes reminiscent of fellow Scot Mike Heron. As a lyricist he's a master of the witty put-down ("It's not my job to think on a global scale, so kindly shut your gob" may not be everyone's idea of an eco-anthem). But he can do serious as well: 'God Forgotten' meditates on the disillusionment following a religious upbringing.

With one ear cocked to his folk heritage, McClure adds catchy, danceable tunes, and deftly supported by the rhytm section of Jon Noad and Richard Ipaint, the whole thing takes off.

I first discovered the Razorbills through their friendship with 1960s icon Shelagh McDonald. Appropriately, much of the music here - notably 'Flower in the 60s' - sounds like a creative engagement with the past. Definitely a band on the up. - R2 Magazine (Rock'n'Reel) July / August 2013


As The Geese "Cursory Rhymes" (Lost Wasp)

"To Hell With Youth & Beauty" (Lost Wasp)

Bandcamp page



The Razorbills are emerging from the forgotten southwest corner of Scotland, the ancient kingdom of Galloway.

Bypassed by those heading to the central belt and the Highlands for the delights of Glasvegas, King Creosote and Mull Historical Society, sped through by those to-ing and fro-ing from Northern Ireland en route to the myth of sessions and “the craic”, Galloway has been quietly gestating a ...slew of bands in recent years, most generating little interest from the cosmopolii.

The latest of these is The Razorbills, a self-declared 5-piece “indie-folk-punk-pop” combo, which emerged from weekly acoustic sessions in the otherwise dormant holiday town of Gatehouse of Fleet. Initially formed as The Geese in 2008 by husband and wife Alan (guitar) and Michelle (fiddle) McClure and Harry Thomson (banjo / mandolin), the band played pubs, halls and festivals in their local area, and released a well-received EP “Cursory Rhymes” in 2010. Following this, they decided to add some punch to their sound and recruited punk / pub-rock veteran Richard Ingram (ex-Wreckless Eric and Billy Childish) on drums and Jon Noad, from local band Carrifran, on bass.

The resultant sound was a revelation, with previously static if attentive audiences seen to bop wildly round whichever room the band was playing in. An appearance at their home festival, where they very nearly succeeded in upstaging King Creosote, and further gigs at the Wickerman Festival and at Nice’n’Sleazy’s in Glasgow amongst others, convinced them that the time was right to put some more of their growing self-penned set down on disc.

The appropriately-titled album, “To Hell with Youth & Beauty” was released in April 2012, and consists of 14 songs, consistent in quality and instrumentation, but widely different in tone and content. The sprightly dart at demagogues “Anti-Leader League” contrasts with the poignant traditional form of “God-Forgotten”; “Lie Easy” has cavaquhino-like echoes of the Amazonian rain-forest, whilst “DeForrest Kelly” merges vaguely middle-eastern fiddle-lines with tales of a hallucinogenic youth in rural Scotland.

The album marked the band’s transition to The Razorbills, having struggled with numerous cases of mistaken identity and the realisation that there were several other bands out there called The Geese. The Razorbills are not to be confused with other acoustic Scots acts out there. Firmly rooted in song-craft, delighting in mischief, and with more than a hint of the punk DIY-ethos, the album may yet expose more of Galloway to the light. Ever contrary, the band toured the album down Scotland’s east coast in 2012, with gigs at, amongst others, Aberdeen’s The Tunnels, Nobles of Leith, Aikman’s Bar in St Andrews, and a resounding success at The Wise Monkey, Glasgow.

Following the tour, Richard decided to concentrate on the fine art which graced the album cover, and the band have now recruited Iain McLeod, teenage drummer from former local favourites Sweet Relief. Another busy summer schedule followed in 2012, including Eden, Wickerman and 3 Horseshoes festivals, as well as support slots in the autumn and winter of 12/13 for psych-folk geniuses Trembling Bells, and the resurgent Shelagh Macdonald. The band promises to develop further in advance of recording for their second album, anticipated for release in the autumn of 2013.

FRoots magazine praised the album and the band for their idiosyncratic approach, declaring that they are "quirky enough and brassy enough to stand on their own", whilst R2 enthused that they are "Definitely a band on the up".