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Scars - The List

When twinkly electronic pranksters Lemon Jelly played Edinburgh's Usher
Hall a couple of years ago to promote their just released '64-95'
album, some younger members of the audience might have been puzzled
towards the end of the set by the appearance of a trio of guitar, bass
and drum wielding gentlemen of a certain age who played the more
abrasive parts of album standout, '79 aka The Shouty Track.' Said parts
were in fact sampled from 'Horrorshow', the debut single by Edinburgh's
missing in action post-punk fabulists, Scars, and the gentlemen on
stage replicating it live were three quarters of the original band.

Released on Bob Last's Fast Product label, original home of the Human
League, the Mekons and Gang of Four, 'Horrorshow' and its B-side
'Adult/`Ery' was the perfect introduction to a band who combined brash,
chimingly melodramatic guitars to the poetic swagger of singer Robert
King's lyrical and vocal style. Scars subsequent 1981 album, 'Author!
Author!' should have seen them cross over to major label greatness
following front page music press acclaim, two John Peel sessions and an
appearance on BBC 2's music for grown-ups TV show, 'The Old Grey
Whistle Test'. As it turned out, however, that was the last sighting of
all four Scars together for almost thirty years. Until now, that is, as
one of the great missing links of post-punk join forces for a one-off
festive headline show to show the hordes of latter-day guitar bands how
it's done.

"I was sixteen", guitarist Paul McKie, aka Paul Research remembers of
the band he formed in 1977, "and all the bands in Edinburgh then seemed
quite American influenced. We were determined to do something that was
consciously different from that."

Long hailed as an inspiration by fellow travellers Davy Henderson and
Paul Haig, of Fire Engines and Josef K respectively, with 'Author!
Author!' finally released on CD two years ago and with a session
already lined up for 6 Music's Marc Riley show, the return of Scars to
acknowledge veteran record emporium Avalanche's move to the Grassmarket
looks very much like vindication.

"I aways thought we were under-rated," McKie admits, "and I still don't
hear anybody now sounding like us. But it still feels like payback.
It's not like we're going round high-fiving each other, but we're
quietly satisfied."

Scars, TV 21 and Malcolm Ross play The Picture House, Edinburgh,
December 29th

the List, December 2010



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