Unkle Bob
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Unkle Bob

Band Rock Adult Contemporary


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"Unkle bob Press Quotes"


MOJO "UNKLE BOB posses qualities identifiable with Yes, Prefab Sprout and Radiohead and their overriding sound is based around creating vast stadium-swaying swathes of vocal melodrama."

MIRROR "Just imagine fellow Scots Teenage Fanclub doing full-tilt, hypnotic Neil Young-style razor rock. The spellbinding dynamics hit the bull’s eye in the centre, like a turntable spindle going into a classic vinyl album. Fab"

THE TIMES KNOWLEDGE MAGAZINE - "Don’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. Their debut LP Sugar and Spite is full of them."

THE TIMES - "At a packed Water Rats they turned their songs into big, broody anthems with surprise stadium potential. They frequently recalled Keane (albeit a more soulful, less polished version) but Rick Webster’s lyrics are anything but by the book. A market for the heartbroken seems assured."

The Sunday Times 4/5 - "An excellent debut and a bittersweet album full of lovely pop tunes – some wistful, some epic, some that manage to be both wistful and epic. REM, Aztec Camera and Prefab Sprout come to mind."

Q 4/5 - "These richly keening, mandolin-heavy songs are often reminiscent of early REM – really very lovely indeed."

The Times 4/5 - "If you are partial to every wistful, tender and harmony-led G-spot for which the genre is renowned, Rick Webster is a master of the lovelorn, desperate lyric, and when paired to his perfect, bittersweet voice, the words - “I wanna get laid/I wanna get played/I wanna walk down the hit parade” - sound like the most heartrending sentiment known to man."

MOJO 4/5 - "As warm-melancholic as Prefab Sprout or icy-isolated as Radiohead, Unkle Bob hurl themselves from reflection to ripped-up despair in a moment."

UNCUT 4/5 - "Sugar-coated and sunlit uplands."

The Independent 3/5 - "The grand tradition of harmonic, heartbroken jangle-pop is in good hands – anyone who has relished early REM will find fresh-enough sweeteners here."

WORD- "A folk group for the Coldplay Generation."

The SUN 3/5 - "Sugar and Spite’s touching innocence recalls melodic pop maestros Aztec Camera and Lloyd Cole."
- Mixed


Sugar and Spite LP



Way back in 2006 you could have been forgiven for thinking that Unkle Bob were already strolling down the country’s Hit Parade. Believe it or not, but back in those heady daze, Unkle Bob were only beginning to straddle a fence bestriding that precipice we call stardom and the world was merely stealing furtive glimpses at their glittering future. It may seem strange now but, in that crazy year, Unkle Bob were not yet a household name and their tunes - as sensational and perfectly formed as they may be – were yet to be as seasonally significant as they have now become (Summer’s here!), their presence barely acknowledged on the nation’s airwaves. In short, 2006 may be remembered for several events but the barely-perceptible arrival of a gang of twenty-somethings from Glasgow University and environs is probably not one of them. Historians, however, may choose to disagree: in amongst the manufactured pop drivel, the excitable indier-than-thou new Smiths-elects and the R & B soundalikes you too may have had the good fortune to have stumbled upon something quite special. Enter Unkle Bob and Too Many People.

Well, we can dream, but we are not without a sense of bonhomie here at Unkle Bob Towers. Nor are we alone in believing that Unkle Bob have the wherewithal to be one of this decade’s greatest bands. Surely formed by the thought that “they just don’t write them like that anymore do they?” Unkle Bob are a band you will want to listen to again and again - just to make sure they are as good as you think they are. In the past few months you may have heard a lot about Guilty Pleasures and The Feeling and Orson and the return of the song but Unkle Bob are another thing altogether – instantaneous, classic, contemporaneous. Indeed, what were you expecting - a Supertramp revival?

Unkle Bob are Rick Webster (vocals, guitar), Stuart Cartwright (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin), Ron Yeadon (drums, percussion), Graham Local (double bass) and Geoff Widdowson (keyboards). Formed in and around Glasgow University in the last few years, Unkle Bob have an uncanny knack of sounding like they’ve been hanging around in your record collection your whole life. The band’s own list of (guilty) listening pleasures includes Pink Floyd as well as Van Morrison, Tim Buckley, John Lennon, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Velvet Underground, Carole King and John Martyn – though Cartwright, the band’s only Scottish-born member, mentions the Stone Roses, and Widdowson (the only band member to have been schooled in a monastery and be taught by monks) cites the Doors, Blur and the Incredible String Band. Several of these artists seem to have had a bearing on how an Unkle Bob song should sound but several others (like REM and Prefab Sprout) would also appear to have had some influence. And what of those songs? Well, Hold It Down is a sublime lament for an absent lover overseas, a kind of (I Ain’t) Missing You/I’m Not In Love created for a world in which it’s best to hide your feelings cos you know she might be ‘letting go’ and The Hit Parade is two impossibly heartbreaking pop songs rolled into one, the first a plaintive plea that she might ‘say that you want me’ whilst the latter confides ‘all I wanna do is get over you.’ We are in protesting-too-much territory again here but nobody can fail to be moved by the joyful nay carelessly ribald killer chorus ‘I wanna get laid/ I wanna get played/ I wanna walk down the Hit Parade.’

Too Many People is inevitably even more of a jaw-dropper than Hit Parade and the band’s choice for a single in June: a cross between Shack and the Pernice Brothers, this song says everything you’ve always wanted to say about love without saying anything at all – cos that’s all there is to say really. By the time it ends you’ll find yourself shouting ‘Yeah, Too Many People’ as if it’s the last time you will ever shout anything of any real significance. And for our purposes and on the current sampler in circulation (produced by former James guitarist Saul Davies), Birds and the Bees recalls a Fables Of The Reconstruction era REM as well as the Magic Numbers and those all-but-forgotten legendary tunesmiths Friends Again. You’ll find it hard to beat ‘And my mother told me ‘son, you’re just like your dad’/Some little piece of Love that they had’ as a sentiment or indeed a couplet. And you too will wonder whether you belong inside ‘a four-minute love song – that nobody can explain’.

Unkle Bob have more of course (and the delights of One By One and Put A Record On and I Need A Car and Vagabond will be revealed in the fullness of time) but for the moment it should be enough that they exist and that you should love them. 2006 may have barely begun but already we have something to look forward to – a debut album by a band who have hit the ground running. When it comes, you should hold it to your heart and smile.

Phill Savidge