The Razorbills

The Razorbills

BandFolkAcoustic

The future of folk'n'roll...The Razorbills music blends acoustic instrumentation with strands of the folk tradition and pop / rock styles. "Idiosyncracy a go-go" (fRoots Magazine).

Biography

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".

Lyrics

Anti-Leader League

Written By: Alan McClure

I am the head of the Anti-Leader League, follow me
You will see that we've got all that we need
but it's going to cost us, so please dig deep
for the Anti-Leader League

I am the king of the Kids for Change Brigade, we've got it made
Because we know only kids can show the way
With just a little guidance so they don't go astray
The kids for change brigade

Oh I will sacrifice my time
just take a badge and stand in line
and let me show them you can shine

I'll strike a blow against the world economy
No need to bow before the market's tyranny
And if you buy my pamphlet I'm sure you will agree
It's only four pound seventy

Oh I'll defend the weak who cannot fight
I'll write a song for women'd rights
If you will sleep with me tonight
You're great, oh let me see your natural state
the only way to liberate
but you could stand to lose some weight

You like our style and we can swear we'll never stop
Cos we've been told that we're the next big thing in pop
and if we tone it down some we could reach the top
So we'll keep going till we drop.

Global Scale

Written By: Alan McClure

I was doing my recycling there in the pouring rain
chasing bits of paper that had dropped and blown away
Pushing empty bottles in an overflowing bin
Jumping at the buzzing of the bees and flies within
Sorting out the cardboard from the empty cans of pop
When a great big BMW came skidding to a stop right there

There appeared a suited man, a grin from ear to ear
“You think you’re doing good, my friend,” he told me with a sneer
“But really the environment is out of your control
“When the Indians and the Chinese use a billion tonnes of coal
“And countries use resources like they’re going out of style
“So your poxy little efforts here can only make me smile

“I’m thinking on a global scale, on a global scale,
“It ain’t no crime
“To think upon a global scale, on a global scale,
“Don’t waste your time!”

I tried to shake him off and so I headed down the street
I had to buy some coffee, tea and chocolate for a treat
I always check the labels just to see where things are made
And I try and buy organic and I try and buy fair-trade
But as I cast my eye across the supermarket shelf
Who should rear his head but BMW himself, right there

“You poor, deluded fool,” he said, “you canny make a dent;
“The folks that you are helping, they’re, like, 0.1 per cent
“Money makes the world go round whatever you may buy
“And you canny make a difference so you may as well not try
“market economics trump your conscience every time,
“And look - I’m buying Nestle and I get along just fine!

“I’m thinking on a global scale, on a global scale,
“It ain’t no crime
“To think upon a global scale, on a global scale,
“Don’t waste your time!”

I said, “My friend, your thoughtful words have cut me to the quick,
“You’ve shown that I’ve been acting like a sentimental prick
“How foolish and how gullible to try and do my bit
“When the world is full of millions who couldny give a shit
“And since you’ve been so thoughtful as to show me what is true
“Well, I have a proposition that is specially for you, just you.

“The Congolese, Iraqis, Afghans, Sudanese and more
“Are slaughtering each other in an endless global war
“And governments will subsidise the peddlers of death
“Who sit back and count the fortune made from every dying breath
“So, though I’d call for peace, it won’t do any good at all
“And it won’t make any difference if I boot you in the balls

“I’m thinking on a global scale, on a global scale,
“Is that what you mean?
“Thinking on a global scale, on a global scale,
“You don’t seem too keen!
“Thinking on a global scale, on a global scale,
“It’s not my job
“To think upon a global scale, on a global scale,
“So kindly shut yer gob.”

Flower in the 60s

Written By: Alan McClure

Well it wasn’t much fun being a flower in the 60s,
Picked and plucked by a bunch of old hippies
to decorate their technicolour nonsense as you withered up
And whatever you think about the cloud-blown kisses,
the smiles, the styles and the noble wishes,
image fought with substance and it kicked her in the shin

And do you really think that your mother and I
would be far better people if we still got high?
If we walked around baring bums and bits
If we tried to make lasagne tripping off our tits?

And not much wanting to do your homework
does not constitute a political statement
nor does agonising over what your mate meant
when he said you were square
So you can turn down Dylan and the Grateful Dead
and come and help me do the washing up instead
remember, I saw Hendrix play when he was alive
and I can still get your dinner on the table for half past five

And so I cut my hair and I shaved my moustache, it’s
not a sure sign that I became a fascist
If you really want to give peace a chance
why don’t you shut your face and help me water the plants

Cos it wasn’t much fun being a flower in the 60s
picked and plucked by a bunch of old hippies
to decorate their technicolour nonsense
as you withered up and died.

DeForrest Kelly of Arden

Written By: Harry Thomson

It’s raining cobwebs, stretching hours
Into refracted gossamer showers
Space invaders, struggle onwards
Records winding ever downwards

Time is bending moving slowly
Pool balls melting, snooker holy
All the drinkers are talking Slovak
Head translating all the small talk

Lights are pulsing time is bending
silent faces message sending
It’s raining cobwebs, stretching hours
Into refracted gossamer showers

Discography

As The Geese "Cursory Rhymes" (Lost Wasp)

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

Bandcamp page

Set List

Any number from:

Ariel
Insomnambulist
Susanna
Undiscovered Scotland
Cursory Rhymes
Anti-Leader League
Lie Easy
Love-15
God-Forgotten
Sense of Wonder
Global Scale
Putting YourselfTogether Again
Shakin' Briggie
Flower in the 60s
Something You Can Use
Poor Soul
DeForrest Kelly of Arden
Gonna Find You
Spiral Away
Houses
A River
Jock Harrow
Fame Fatale
Noise
Hollywood Eyes
Marie
Trade Not Aid
Down and Out
CD For Sale At The Back

All self-penned