KING Of Birds: Eve Of Destruction: Released – 2019.

WHEN Jean Melvin and Frank Coyle did a slow dance on the tiled landing of a Glasgow tenement, it was one of the most poignant moments I’ve ever seen in a Scottish pop video.

They are the stars of the promo for Harvest Time by King Of Birds … a track from their outstanding debut album, Eve Of Destruction, released in 2019.

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The group, brothers Charlie and Stirling Gorman, chose wisely when they invited both senior citizens – who attended The Coming Home Centre, which provides a service for Armed Forces veterans in Glasgow – to help capture the raw emotion of their superb song.

In the video – shot on the streets of Govan – Jean is walking alone, rather forlornly, carrying a huge box strapped to her back.

“With the box, we were trying to signify the labour of a weight – the burden of life – being carried around on your back with you,” explained singer, Charlie.

“When you see Deliveroo cyclists carrying these boxes they are usually fit, young guys. I thought it would be memorable to flip that around.

“The idea was to try to illustrate the loneliness of an old woman being forced to live on her own.

“When Stirling and I used to visit our grandmother, she’d be looking out of the window to see who was walking down the street, or through the spy-hole in her door to see who was coming up the close.

There are millions of old people in that situation.”

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Take a piece of free advice – watch the video on YouTube at your earliest opportunity.

I defy you not to be moved by a song, which, like a modern Eleanor Rigby, perfectly captures a feeling of unwanted solitude and abandonment.

“Jean and Frank were both well into their nineties when we shot the video, and were also real characters,” guitarist Stirling told me.

“She has a real steeliness about her. We filmed the video in Govan Shopping Centre and locations they both felt some familiarity and association with, so they didn’t feel out of place.

“The scene at the end – where they are dancing on the landing outside Charlie’s front door – was very special.

“Frank leant over and gave Jean a wee kiss on the cheek. We didn’t ask him to. He just decided to do that and it made an already special moment even more magical.”

Earlier this month, Charlie and Stirling received the sad news from staff at the centre that Frank – a former marine – had passed away after a short illness.

“It was a pleasure to get to know Frank. He was a fantastic guy … a brilliant man,” said Charlie.

Eve Of Destruction was recorded on a shoestring budget at the 45 A-Side Studio in Glasgow’s east end.

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The title is a reference to the 1965 No. 1 hit by US musician, Barry McGuire, which was their father’s favourite song.

“I loved the title because it summed up a lot of the stuff that was happening in the news – Trump, Covid, Brexit – all the things you couldn’t believe were going on,” said Charlie.

The band, from Elderslie in Renfrewshire, take their name from a track on Document by R.E.M. and have a love of the Americana genre of music.

“Our look is very then … but our music is very now,” said Charlie.

“I like an older style of dress but we’ve always thought our music was, while not old fashioned, definitely influenced by guys like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson or The Band.

“Our aim is to try to keep it as real as possible. 100% authentic.”

Charlie and Stirling are former members of Murmur, a Glasgow band tipped for big things in 1993.

They released one album, Derailer – recorded in Austin, Texas, for Warner Brothers – gigged with Simple Minds and appeared at T In The Park.

But when the album failed to hit the target they split. Making another album in 2019 was the last thing on their minds.

“After Murmur, we had years of doing nothing. I know it might sound strange but we never had any real desire to be in a band again,” revealed Stirling.

“We just wanted to write songs, there was no more of an agenda than that. Suddenly we thought … maybe this could evolve into something really good.

“Then our attitude was, if we’re gonna do this, let’s do it right.”

Charlie “road tested” a few early tracks on what he describes as his toughest audience.

“I work for a charity called Music In Hospitals – playing music in hospitals, care homes and mental health units all over Scotland,” he said.

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“I mostly perform songs people are familiar with, but when staff got to know about the band, they asked me to put some of our songs into the set.

“It can be difficult to win an audience over in a situation like that because musically they’re not getting a lot of stimulus.

“But the enthusiasm of the people there is unbelievable. Staff told me how music improves their mental health.

“The feedback is very rewarding. It’s a whole different kind of job satisfaction. I previously worked in an office and it didn’t mean anything.

“But playing our songs to people in care – when all they’ve been doing all week is watching TV or playing dominos – is a great experience. I really get a lot from it.”

Charlie and Stirling recorded with producer Paul McInally, who they describe as “a wizard on the desk”.

The first sessions produced One Horse Town, When We Were Kings and Tell Me If You See Her, which became the cornerstones of the 12-song album.

“We did the songs in three batches of four or five tracks each time,” recalled Charlie.

“When we played them to friends they all said: ‘You should put these out yourselves’. So we wrote some more – such as I Hope That We Don’t Fall In Love, and Harvest Time – to see if we could get any interest.”

The pair also scraped enough money together to get the album mixed at Abbey Road in London, by Frank Arkwright, who has worked with Roxy Music and Blur.

“It was a great experience, and to just walk into the building itself was absolutely incredible,” recalled Charlie.

“We both grew up with The Beatles. So being shown around the famous Studio 2 – where they made all their albums – was amazing.”

When I received a copy of Eve Of Destruction, I was impressed by the music and visual style of the band.

I began playing tracks on my radio show, drawing positive feedback from listeners.

“It was a great feeling to suddenly have an actual record in our hands,” said Stirling.

“Of course, you sit down and say: ‘Could we have done anything better here … however small?’ But Eve Of Destruction was our best shot at that particular time. We gave it everything we could.

“From the title to the artwork to the cover picture -even to the circular label on the actual record - it was all carefully considered. Every element of it was us.

“And that’s not an arrogance thing. We know how the business works. You can make what you think is the greatest album ever, only for it to fall on its a***. But our job is NOT necessarily to sell records … just to make them. On that level, I feel we’ve more than done our bit. We’re both extremely proud of it.”


ONE of the best songs on Eve Of Destruction was written to a backdrop of a dark moment in Glasgow’s recent history.

I Hope We Don’t Fall In Love was inspired by a newspaper report in the wake of the tragic accident when a police helicopter crashed into the roof of The Clutha Vaults pub in 2013, killing 10 people.

“I read an article some time later about a woman who’d lost her husband in the tragedy,” said Charlie.

“She’d now met somebody else, and the song was written about the guilt she was feeling about moving on so soon.”

On the night of the tragedy, Charlie was gigging in another bar nearby.

“I heard the barman shout: ‘Charlie, stop playing for a minute’,” he recalled.

“He turned up the volume on the TV as the news reports were coming through. It was very haunting because you could hear the sirens from the ambulances rushing to the scene. That really stuck with me.”

I Hope We Don’t Fall In Love was again complemented by a stunning video filmed in Glasgow by Josh Farmer. It also featured scenes shot by Charlie, while on honeymoon in New York.

“Josh had a drone which he flew over the city skyline,” said Charlie.

“I borrowed a camera and my wife did some filming in Manhattan and Coney Island, where we found this really strange looking café on the boardwalk.

“It captured a period of time which had long since gone. So the imagery was perfect for music grounded in Americana.”

Stirling says the video also reflects the feeling of solidarity in the city.

“You’ve heard the term ‘People Make Glasgow’ … well, a few days after the tragedy there was a real coming together,” he said.

“The whole city put its arms around those who were affected by the accident or still waiting for news of loved ones.

“It was very emotional for me. We felt it would be great to do something to portray Glasgow in that light. To say … what an amazing city.”

THE Billy Sloan Show is on BBC Radio Scotland every Saturday at 10pm.