Little Love and The Friendly Vibes
An Edinburgh band in need of a Twitter account; as their brand of 'Fun Pop' could see them gain a lot of attention, as well as hearts.
Sunshine is available at:
The E.P. Fun Pop is available at:
'SCOTLAND' and 'sunshine' are diverse terms that can cause polemic.....
to-and-fro. When one thinks of Scotland, perhaps sunnier weather, at least, is not one of the first things that spring to mind. Amidst cliché, stereotype and preconception, a lot of the U.K.- as well as a large percentage of the world's population- know very little about Scotland, and what is on offer. It is true that climate and good weather is subject to unpredictability and entropy: but so is that true everywhere. It is true that very few music fans and media outlets give enough credence and passion towards Scotland, and the music that it present here. Recently I have been subjected to revelling in the myriad joys and invigorations within the music of Universal Thee, Steve Heron and Ded Rabbit. Here are just three examples of a growing wave of great music that is emanating from Scottish climbs. Commonly, one assumes- quite falsely- that the best new music and most prodigious sounds herald from London- how often have I been mentioning this? Whilst it it is true (to a degree) that the capital is giving birth to some brilliant new bands and acts, by-and-large, there are very few brilliant artists and worthy songs/albums coming from London. I have been at a loss to explain this phenomenon, as London has all the right climate conditions: a huge population and huge diversity; a great deal of record labels and studios; the inspiration of the bustling city life. In the past, I have perhaps hinted that the reason behind the comparative lack of quality in music, can be explained by the stress and anxiety present in London. With there being little room to move, and large and busy crowds pretty much... well, everywhere; one is often starved of the necessary space and energy needed to create fantastic music. Historically at least, the best music has arrived from other areas aside from London. Liverpool, Manchester, Seattle, Minnesota and Oxford have spawned some true legends, and there is evidence to suggest that these areas are more conducive to create wonder. As much as the busier cities can suffocate creativity, if one travels further north, then something quite different is occurring. Yorkshire is perhaps the best example of a county that is promoting and fostering huge range and mobility; bearing witness to a great range of music that has ambition as well as a sunny disposition. If anything, Scotland are producing music that is even more ambitious, and has an even bigger grin about it. This may shock a lot of those in the rest of the U.K.- although I am not sure why. The sounds- by and large- tend to be breezier, less anxious, with greater weight and appeal. In the future months and years, there will be (one hopes) a turning away from the big cities such as London; to Scotland. The music industry is undergoing suffocation and fatigue, where the majority of new artists and bands seem to be bereft of many new ideas: a lot tend to be too indebted to their idols. Individuality, mobility and diversity seem to be more prescient bywords for Scottish artists, and it is the music made by them, which is being studied carefully; as the successful artists are making waves all over the U.K. as well as further abroad.
In Edinburgh, Little Love and The Friendly Vibes are making their name because of their bright-eyed and cheerful tones; a style of music that has been dubbed- and lead them to name their E.P.- Fun Pop. Having formed in 2011, there were several line-up changes and substitutions amongst the ranks, in order to cement the final line-up for the band. The group came about and were consecrated on sturdy pillars: catchy melodies, quirky guitar hooks; as well as a mix of comedy and punk. The tracks that the group write are light-hearted with a big heart, and are infused with fun and memorable lyrics and imagery. It is perhaps unsurprising that the band have been labelled as a 'Fun Pop' group, considering some of their influences. U.S. legends The B52s are influences, and The Magic Numbers are also named as icons for the Edinburgh band. Both of those groups are synonymous with bright, breezy and joyful songs: the former perhaps, are the epitome of the term. As much as there is heart and tenderness beneath the band's skin, they have been noted for some of their more raw lyrics and sentiments. Our group, consisting Euan, Graham and Stephen, are fans of the likes of The Velvet Underground and The Undertones; some evidence of these bands make their way into some of the more cutting and honest themes. It is the mixture of fun and comedic overtones and a hint of raw honesty that has lead to positive reviews and glowing feedback from many media outlets and fans alike. It is not surprising that their music has been taken to heart and so positively received. In a time where there is still an over-reliance on heavier and more cynical sounds; Little Love and The Friendly Vibes are the antithesis of this, and pioneers of a more all-inclusive and positive sound. The E.P. Fun Pop, is the summation of the band's sound, talents and (sometimes difficult) development. Their artwork and websites are awash with bright colours, swirling patterns and egalitarian shades and designs, that you cannot help but to be charmed by. In the future the band should consider a Twitter account, and an official page too, as they are deserving of drawing in a great deal of fans and supporters. I have connected with U.S. and Australian bands, whom have connected with others and had their sounds heard a long way from home. Little Love and The Friendly Vibes have a sound and palette that is as ready-made for the Californian coast, as it is for the clubs of Sydney; as well as European cities. Such is the utilitarianism and universal tones of their mottos and codas, that it won't be too long before they are a name on most peoples lips. With the tendency still erring towards guitar bands, sour undertones and heavier sounds, it is refreshingly and rewarding when discovering groups that are willing to (gleefully) rebel; infusing the music scene with vitamin C: ultimately ensuing that a murky and overly-familiar quagmire is not created. Fun Pop is four tracks of pop fun, and was released in September of last year. Featuring Barry George as well as Rheanna Bryson, our trio have been gathering a loyal band of followers and fans; each of whom is keen to promote the good words and sensations that the E.P. offers. Due to pecuniary constraints, the group's E.P. has an almost homemade appeal and sound. The songs were written by Euan, and produced, recorded and mixed by Graham; and the entire band has pitched in and doubled up almost, to ensure that a) the E.P. got made, and b) it was the sound that they wanted and craved. In the future the group are dreaming of recording an album, and expanding their mandates and stories; in essence fully realising their potential and hoping to draw in new fans and support. For now their E.P. gives as much an indication of the band's potential as anything: chocked full of lights and shade; quirky and sedate; harmonious and reflective.
It is the E.P.'s second track, and former single, Sunshine, that has been gaining some of the most fervent feedback and exhausted plays. The song opens with a guitar and drum march. The electric guitar strides and kicks, before a percussive punch punctuates the line. It is a coda that is repeated, before the two blend together and rattle and roll with intention and strength. Within a brief intro., a great deal of anticipation and intrigue has been built up; as one wonders what direction the song will take. A repetition of "Why love everything about you?" is proffered by our frontman, his voice seemingly swaying and nodding; infused with '6os psychedelic-cum-sunshine pop-via-Britpop-era-swagger. When he asks: "Why love everything that you do?" there is a seeming haughty disregard in Euan's tones; as it seems that there is a backstory and a bit of history that is being exorcised and exalted within the lines. It is not sure whom the song's central figure is: a former love? A current friend? Many questions are raised- the song is largely composed of questions in fact- and it is wondered whether things are better now: it is questioned if the status quo is the best thing for the two. In the way that our frontman asks questions and sets the scene, the band create atmosphere and a relentless pace, which keeps the song upbeat and energetic throughout. Throughout there is an abiding feel of the '60s, both in the sound of the production and the nature of the song- a little punk-edge is present, but largely flavours of that era and time can be heard within the track. As well as there being '60s evocations, some of the guitar sounds and riffs remind me of '90s blues rock, as well as mid-'90s Manchester too: there is a heady blend. It is true that the band have a talent for melody, and when "Why love everything about you?" hits, you cannot help but to realise that it has a festival-ready remembrance: a great sing-along quality that is the staple of a modern anthem. Whereas other songs on the band's E.P. may have greater lyrical positivity, Sunshine has a pervading sense of the upbeat. Any lines or choruses that suggest cynicism or derision are presented with a flair and confidence that win you over; augmented by a tight and measured band performance that adds potency and force, without impeding on the foreground too heavily. Whether the song has been inspired by a break-up or uncertainty within a relationship, we may never know, but it seems that there are few recriminations in our frontman's core. There seems to be few strains within his heart; the message's evocations and potency is befitting of the song's title. As that infectious coda has been unleashed once more, the vocal subsides, before a short outro is unleashed. Combining some chugging guitar and firm percussion, as well as some solid bass work; it wraps things neatly up, managing to present a small flourish and smile right at the end.
Little Love and The Friendly Vibes are a trio whom have big ambitions. I can tell that they are hungry to record an album very soon, and it is a desire that will be bolstered by public consumption. It is imperative now, as much as it has ever been, to promote and support bands and acts that 'differ from the norm': those that are not concerned with sounding exactly like someone else. Their E.P.'s four tracks are each fairly short (Typical Teen runs in at 1:56); and they have mastered the art of producing short, sharp and memorable bursts of songs. Were they afforded the finance and professional studio space to emphasise and polish their sound a bit more; as well as get an album's worth of material laid down, then they will soon find themselves at the mercy of the festival organisers and venue managers: each keen to get them on the bill. Each member of the band plays their role superbly. Vocals are fresh, uplifting and bold one moment; with a little cockiness and spit the next. The tones are original and varied and you are never left thinking of any other singer. Guitar, bass and percussion is employed expertly and played solidly; again pervading an original sound that is filled with equal measures of force and sunshine. For an E.P. that runs in at less than ten minutes, the group's tracks cover a lot of ground and promise much reward. Few bands spent much consideration with regards to concentrating their sound, and being concise. E.P.s are usually a little long and stuffed; acts and bands are too concerned with saying as much as possible, through fear of being forgotten about if not. Sunshine is a track that sticks in the brain because of the sound, as well as the catchy lyrics. Like Muse's Time Is Running Out, it employs relatively few individual words; instead taking its potent chorus, and weaving it into your brain. As soon as they can get a Twitter account and official website sorted, and reach as many people as possible, then success will not be far away. Websites such as Kickstarter are bound with musical projects- less impressive- which get funding and allow new acts to get albums recorded. If that were a route that the Edinburgh clan were to take, then it might see them in the studio laying down an L.P. very soon. Although there should be no fear. From looking at their Facebook page, they get plenty of great feedback, and have live dates ahead. At the time of this review the band are priming themselves in preparation for recording new songs, and figuring out their next moves. With an arsenal that is as fully-loaded as it is unique, they will be able to carve out their own path; providing that they can get the funds to help them realise this. Sunshine is a great example of a band that have plenty of potential; a great deal of ambition, and are asking just one thing in return:
THEY need you.