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The Lost Soul Band

Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
3 stars
When Gordon Grahame reconvened his band of should’ve been troubadours
at the fag end of 2008 after more than a decade away, their triumphal
return felt like vindication for one of the most heartfelt back
catalogues of Caledonian country rock songs to ever go missing in
action. Two years on, the songs are still there, as is Grahame’s
full-throated voice, but the absence of keyboardist and co-writer Mike
Hall, whose piano flourishes proved such a crucial counterpoint to
Grahame, and the addition of guitarist Adrian Oxaal, late of James and
currently Grahame’s foil in his bread-winning Lucky Jim outfit, make
for a very different prospect.

Opening with the unreleased, J Geils Band referencing That’s Not How
The Song Goes, the first part of the set reveals them as the Grand Ole
Oprey style bar band they always threatened to become beyond their
rootsier stylings. While the detail of Oxaal’s classic guitar wig-outs
are impeccably studied, however, it lends a more strung-out feel that
never quite captures the nuances of Hall’s piano. The difference, if
period detail is needed, is that between Movin’ On Up era Primal Scream
and the stew of the Give Out But Don’t Give Up album that followed,
both of which similarly plundered classic Rolling Stones nuances to
very different effect.

When Grahame plays solo on teenage anthem, God, none of this matters,
and on grungier fare like trash Scene, Oxaal’s licks are all too
appropriate. Elsewhere, however, while it’s a joy to hear the likes of
Coffee and Hope and You Can’t Win Them All Mum, of the subtleties are
trampled over in Grahame’s eagerness to please.

The Herald, December 30th 2010

ends

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