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Admiral Fallow: Perth Festival

The future of Scottish popular music is in safe hands.

If Perth Festival wanted to showcase the quality of our songwriting and live performance, the choices were spot on.

Admiral Fallow must be among the favourites for this year's Scottish Album of the Year (Say) award with the sublime Tree Bursts In Snow, but are doing relatively few live shows this year in order to write the follow-up.

For this appearance, The Hazey Janes, from just up the road in Dundee, were invited to open. The four-piece embrace power pop and country rock, this opening set offered them all, plus exquisite harmony singing, particularly on In Shadows Under Trees, a slice of Laurel Canyon loveliness.

The six-piece Admiral Fallow are as sprawling in their musical ambition, but also encompass something of the traditional. It's too simplistic to tag them as folk rockers. This is simply exceptional songwriting. True, it likes a tangent, but it always leads somewhere worthwhile.

Louis Abbot's vocal style has an element of the Guy Garvey, particularly on Old Fools, but the dual vocals with Sarah Hayes add another texture to the set, and are particularly fine on Beetle In The Box.

The band are also so thoroughly affable that the lengthy changeovers between songs are forgiven. Technical difficulties are always overcome with quips. There is also room for a rousing "you sing it" moment during Isn't This World Enough?

In both bands, there seemed to be a respect for what has gone before, coupled with a desire to forge their own way forward. No-one could feel anything but optimistic about Scottish music as they left. It was heartening to see how busy the merchandise stalls were at the end of the evening.

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