The Seventeenth Century
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The Seventeenth Century

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Band Alternative Folk

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Last May, the Scottish band The Seventeenth Century played their very first show in The Netherlands, during the Onder Invloed night at Festival aan de Werf in Utrecht. And they did well. Rudy Mackay – 3FM radio dj and host of the evening – wondered ‘how such young guys can sound so mature‘ and thought it was ‘amazing‘. Watch for yourself, I uploaded three songs. - Onder Invloed


It’s strange to think that this is a debut release, because it feels like The Seventeenth Century have been around for ever. When I first began to discover a new tranche of bands emanating from Scotland, they were a name which seemed to be on everyone’s lips as a result of impressive live performances and demos. Dubbed ‘baroque folk pop’ it was perhaps hard to distinguish them in a list from a whole slew of bands tumbling out of Glasgow at the time – however, this time persistence was rewarded….and anyway, I’m a sucker for a bit of antique folkery! My own first exposure was via glimpses at Youtube clips and the occasional compilation appearance – and it was clear that this was something a little different, something worth waiting for perhaps? And so, after quite a wait the ‘(part I)’ EP has finally arrived courtesy of Electra French records. Pressed on serious 10? vinyl and in a sepia-tinted sleeve it looked just like I’d imagine it should from my limited hearing of the band.

From the opening military drumbeats of ‘Young Francis’ this record strikes a strangely uplifting tone. It’s hard not to be carried along on a swell of martial percussion, sparkling brass and intricate strings. Powerful though the music is, particularly on this opening track, it’s the choir of voices which impress most – ranging from haunting and pained to strident and soaring. ‘Roses In The Park’ also benefits from the interplay of the band’s multiple vocalists – and the pop elements of the band start to shine through the classical mists a little. The ghost of Brian Wilson stalks this multi-layered and intricate production as the voices twist around the simplest of melodies. The effervescent brass driven introduction out of the way, this should become a fragile, awkward sounding thing – but in fact it becomes a startling, almost monastic sounding chant before the brass once again takes the song spiralling into the stratosphere. A genuinely lovely pop song emerging from the curious introduction.

Initially sounding like perhaps the most traditional composition is ‘Countryside’ – a veteran of a compilation (or perhaps two in fact?). Carried in on a quietly strummed guitar and a rather formal folk-tinged vocal, it’s not long before the song enters waltz-time and the brass and strings once again turn this rather sad and plaintive hymn to the lost bucolic into a dizzying and playful burst of pop. It’s almost as if you can’t keep this band down – and no matter how maudlin the story, they just have to burst into triumphant life!

Ultimately, this perfectly crafted and genuinely fine set of songs is a wonderful introduction to the timeless and eccentric world of The Seventeenth Century. It’s said that ‘(part II)’ is following close behind this debut, which certainly can be no bad thing.
- Songs Heard On Fast Trains


On old-fashioned 10? vinyl, this debut EP mixes retro folk stylings with more contemporary soundscapes. The five-piece are from Glasgow but feature members from Lanarkshire, as well as Fife twins Andy and Mike Truscott, on drums and cornet respectively. And it’s the driving rhythms and soaring brass that make the band’s sound as much as Mark Farmer’s intense vocal performance which is buoyed by his bandmates to form swelling choruses. Formed in 2008, the band predate the rise in folk that the likes of Mumford and Sons and Stornoway have spearheaded, and this release is the result of their honing their craft through live shows around the country. Of the four tracks, ‘Young Francis’ is a stirring singalong that might spark comparisons with Arcade Fire, while ‘Countryside’ sounds straight out of, well, the 1600s, with an almost baroque feel. ‘Amongst Other Things’ exhibits a pastoral ambience, but it’s ‘Roses’ medieval stomp that is their tour de force – it could well soundtrack a march to greater things. - IsThisMusic


The Seventeenth Century’s reputation, particularly in their adopted hometown of Glasgow, has grown at a furious rate since their inception in 2009. They deal in effervescent and adventurous folk-rock, where traditional instrumentation meets with euphoric 4-part harmonies. It’s a heady mix and one that proves to be very intoxicating over the course of this 4-track 10? EP.

It would be all too easy to label this quintet as Scotland’s answer to Arcade Fire, the songs certainly set out on similar enchanted paths to that of their Canadian counterparts. But there’s a little more than meets the eye here. ’Amongst Other Things’ for example, experiments with various woodwind and acoustic instruments and twinkling piano to create a beautiful tapestry of sound, reminding of Danish collective Efterklang. Lead track ‘Young Francis’, meanwhile, wanders into the Prog/Folk territory occupied by Shearwater, the vocals particularly reminding of Jonathan Meiburg’s melancholic croon albeit with a distinctive Scottish edge to the tone. Its hook-filled choruses and marching-band drums are certainly an EP highlight

The vocals, in fact, are wistful and infectious throughout, containing a certain quality that keeps you going back for more, with the celebratory ‘Countryside’ being a case in point — the only complaint here is that it ends all too abruptly. I can imagine this would all be a joy to behold live, the aforementioned harmonies (think Beach Boys-quality here) alone would be interesting to witness, and there are reviews online to back this up. Which makes it all the more pleasing that The Seventeenth Century’s career is unfolding in my own back yard. - Phantom Channel


Thank goodness, then, for The Seventeenth Century, who recover the nation’s musical honour with the starlit fingerpicking, huddled harmonies and soaring fanfares of ‘Young Francis’ (Electra French) ????. - The List


Dan is het tijd voor –onder het motto: “als we er toch een moeten uitkiezen”- hoofdact The Seventeenth Century. De enige act gisteravond op een volledige backline speelde, en dat was duidelijk hoorbaar. Gisteravond, dames en heren, schalde eenieders oortrommels weldadig door deze fantastisch uitversterkte band. Het vrij unieke stemgeluid van zanger Mark Farmer aangevuld met melancholische klanken greep je, en liet je niet meer los voor de rest van de set. Hate it or love it, erkend moet worden dat deze band een sound heeft die staat als een huis. Een integer huis, dat van tijd tot tijd even flink op zijn grondvesten kan schudden. - Staplab.nl


The Seventeenth Century uit het Schotse Glasgow stond eerder op het bekende Engelse festival T in the Park. Nu dan ook in Ekko. Zanger Mark Farmer opent het optreden met een krachtig gezongen hymne. Even waan je je in een kerk in plaats van in een concertzaal. Dan komen ook de andere bandleden op het podium en barst er een barokke folkexplosie los, compleet met viool en trompet. Bijna alsof je naar een orkest luistert soms. Hun enthousiasme is aanstekelijk, ze spelen alsof hun leven ervan afhangt. Farmer grapt nog dat hij bang was dat wij Nederlanders zijn kapsel raar zouden vinden. Raar of niet, The Seventeenth Century maakt indruk. - KindaMUZIK


The Seventeenth Century (onder invloed van Thomas Rosenboom)
Na een barre overtocht stonden ze daar echt: vijf jonge mannen uit Schotland, uit Glasgow meer precies, met zoveel instrumenten als hun vaartuig bevatten kon. Violen, trommels, koperblazers… Zij zijn de armoe op een missie, de minstrelen van de eenentwintigste eeuw. Als zuiver kabbelend water klinkt het, stil genietend van groene heuvellandschappen, langzaam op weg naar het Schotse binnenmeer om daar veel later, weken, maanden, weer uit op te stijgen en te herbeginnen aan het fenomeen dat professoren de hydrologische cyclus zijn gaan noemen. “Ik heb raar haar,” stiet de man met het rare haar uit. Applaus. Gelach. Een nieuwe cyclus begint. Thuis, in bed, hoor ik het bloed in mijn lichaam de truc nabootsen, maar met futiel resultaat… Klaas Knooihuizen - LiveXS


Discography

The Seventeenth Century (Part One) EP - Electra French Records - Jan '11

1. Young Francis
2. Amongst Other Things
3. Roses In The Park
4. Countryside

The Seventeenth Century (Part Two) EP - Electra French Records - May '11.

1. Banks Of Home
2. The Gregorian Calendar
3. Mid-October
4. Twelve Year's Truce

Photos

Bio

Hailing from Fife, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire, the band formed in late 2009, after meeting through music college and mutual friends in Glasgow, Scotland, finding early common-ground in the belief that modern folk music can be powerful without being po-faced.

Common influences ranging from the sixties baroque influenced The Left Banke, to the experimental instrumentalism of Godspeed indicate an impressive awareness of a deeper landscape than their years allow for, and as noted by the Scotsman earlier this year, who described them as “...a band that writes illustrious music whilst their admirable naivety shines through,”.

Already playing to consistently large audiences in their hometown, with support slots including We Were Promised Jetpacks and Bombay Bicycle Club, the band have also played to a packed out T-Break tent at last summer’s T in the Park festival and to the 2000+ Club Noir crowd at Glasgow’s O2 Academy. In July 2011 the band played a triumphant sold out show at Glasgow’s legendary King Tut’s venue.

Despite the subtlety of their music their live performances fizz with power, with frontman Mark Brendan Farmer described by one blogger as “as intense a frontman as you`ll see this side of Nick Cave”, and with national radio play from the likes of Tom Robinson, Ally McCrae and Gideon Coe, a recent successful second tour of Holland (including a national radio session), and the release of two vinyl-only EPs it seems likely the Scottish kids won't be able to hold onto their little secret for much longer.

Expect detailed 4-part harmonies, slowly building over a thunderous rhythm, joined by multi-layered violin, cornet and guitar, and a refreshingly unpretentious take on the modern folk genre. Their two EPs precede a debut album in early 2012 and form an introduction to a band with a busy year ahead.