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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Sons & Daughters
This Gift

Rating: 6.8/10 ?

March 12, 2008
Sons & Daughters' This Gift is bristling with energy. It's filled exclusively with two- to four-minute pop songs, many of them clocking in at the three-minute mark but feeling even more to the point. With an undeniable sweetness, thanks to Adele Bethel's unique vocal style that is at once rousing and coy, the songs pack a punch. Think Gwen Stefani heading up a '60s girl group (but, yeah, with guys in it).

In fact, it is during those moments when bassist Ailidh Lennon lends a helping hand on vocals ("Split Lips, "Rebel With A Ghost") that Sons & Daughters sound more like a gang of beehive-haired pop revivalists than Glasgowian neighbors Belle & Sebastian. In all fairness, Scott Paterson's guitar riffs are as signature as Bethel's emphatic, nostalgia driven vocals, and his backing vocals add an echoing call-of-the-jungle element to a sound that is almost entirely urban chic.

Listeners will find it hard wheedle out tracks that are more notable than others, because they all exude a certain aura. And as much as critics will be chagrined to admit, there are standouts here. The title track is a howling male/female call and response with relentless guitar chops. "Darling" is extraordinary largely due to the fact that the verse updates Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" in both style and charm. "The Bell" would be nothing less than a Neko Case gem if it flaunted rather than camouflaged its Appalachian roots.

Those looking for variation in tone over the course of an album will no doubt be turned off by This Gift. Their first proper album since 2005's The Repulsion Box, This Gift is not as courageous an effort as one would expect from this pack of Scots; it can be a tiring listen. The problem, in part, is that it presses hard out of the gates but never lets up on the sense of urgency. But the album can be charming and downright catchy at times and, depending on your present mood, that may be just good enough.

Reviewed by Patrick Gill
In in a state of suspended adolescence, Patrick Gill can be found hiding away in northwest Ohio, where he spends most of his time rediscovering shoegaze, noise pop, britpop, slowcore, sadcore, lo-fi, neo-psychedelia, post-rock, trad rock, and trip-hop music. In his spare time he teaches college English.

See other reviews by Patrick Gill



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