No 325: Broken Records

Today's hopefuls sound like a Celtic Arcade Fire and create a sometimes merry, sometimes mournful waltz-time pop

Hometown: Edinburgh.

The lineup: Jamie, Ian, Arne, Rory, Gill, Dave and Andy on a variety, nay dazzling array, of instruments.

The background: Broken Records are the most sought-after unsigned band in Scotland right now, and we should know because we just got trampled on by an eager A&R man on the way to our computer to write this. In fact, they're more than a band: they have the feel of a collective, using a range of instruments including guitars, bass, violin, cello, accordion, mandolin, piano, trumpet, glockenspiel and drums to create a sometimes merry, sometimes mournful sort of waltz-time pop. As you can imagine, the temptation to describe them as the Celtic Arcade Fire is so great we just bit through our own tongue. They're a little bit indie, a little bit folky, and they mix traditional European music with modern alternative Scot-rock. With their now sorrowful, now stirring strings and the soaring, impassioned vocals of Jamie Sutherland, they have the lush, epic sweep of the Waterboys and some of the mariachi spirit of Calexico; a Broken Records song like Wolves recalls the aforementioned Big Music doyens when they had both eyes on the whole of the moon. So they can play instruments, lots of them. They're not thickos, either. They've got one tune called If Eilert Lovborg Wrote a Song, which they titled after a character in a play by 19th-century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and if you think that sounds like a recipe for a stuffy dirge, think again - it's brilliant. Apparently, Broken Records wrote it as a reaction to groups like Arctic Monkeys and their obsession with the routine minutiae of provincial life. "Do I really need to know in intimate detail what a Saturday night is like in a small town?" Sutherland has said, reclining on a chaise longue, a glass of absinthe in one hand and the collected works of Soren Kierkegaard in the other (he's got huge hands). "I can see it for myself and I don't need to have it thrown back at me. It doesn't stretch the imagination at all. Why not write a love song about a fictional character of 200 years ago? Just anything that gets you thinking outside your own space is what I like most about music."

The buzz: "Magical, engrossing and bursting with commercial potential."

The truth: Meet the new Celtic soul brothers (and sister).

Most likely to: Make you sashay in a built-up area.

Least likely to: Appeal to fans of German techno production team Sash!

What to buy: If The News Makes You Sad is out now on Young Turks. There will be a new single in July, label to be confirmed.

File next to: Band Of Holy Joy, Arcade Fire, Waterboys, Calexico.


Tomorrow's new band: Port O'Brien.

The GuardianTramp

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