The Felt Tips

Symbolic Violence


Is there anywhere left to roam for purveyors of that well-worn tradition of fey Glasgow pop? Have Stuart Murdoch and sons blown the dandelion clock all the way down to the stem? Not according to The Felt Tips' sophomore album. Guitar jangles and bounding bass lines draw dizzy shapes around Andrew Paterson's flat lemonade vocals, exploring darker subjects than his predecessors' usual whimsies. Secret Garden is about unrequited love that ends in a psychiatric ward, Iron Lady laces anorexia with Thatcherite resolve, while Whipped Off is a black comic take on internet porn: "Three in the bed and the world wide web, a handful of tissues and your pants round your legs. Who said romance was dead?" Produced by former Camera Obscura twiddler Geoff Allan, this storytelling owes more to Jarvis Cocker or even Lou Reed than Edwyn Collins. Friends In High Places cleverly juxtaposes old friends climbing life's greasy pole with others stuck in high rises. Cut from the same fragrant cloth as certain old Smiths' ballads, it offers new rewards with each listen.

Steven Vass