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Roy Moller - Playing Songs No One's Listening To

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 12 / 9 / 2011

Roy Moller - Playing Songs No One's Listening To
Label: The Beautiful Music
Format: CD


Fantastic 60's-influenced Americana on second album from Glasgow-based singer-songwriter and musician, Roy Moller

I found an immediate connection with this, Roy Moller’s second LP. The opening track, 'Byres Road Saturday' could have been written about one of my favourite weekend pastimes – a wander along Glasgow’s Byres Road. At the heart of the city’s West End, Byres Road is home to many of Glasgow’s cooler bars and more colourful characters, and it is this air of exotica which is perfectly summarised in this pop paean. The album continues with 'Downstairs Upstairs', a psychedelic chunk of Technicolor perfection. Musically, and, in places, vocally, 'Playing Songs…' sounds like the Byrds’ early material, with a very heavy David Crosby influence evident throughout. Add to this spiky Stephen Stills style guitar work and a heavy smattering of unbelievably catchy hooks, and you are some way towards Moller’s sound. 'More Fool You' sounds like the Buffalo Springfield playing a track from the Beatles’ 'A Hard Day’s Night' album while the shuffling beat and casual precision of 'If You Knew Where to Look' is a fabulous example of what might be called playing it cool. 'Out of Print' is vintage Dylan, from the opening harmonica to the storytelling quality of the lyrics. Indeed, throughout the album, the lyrics are by no means secondary to the, admittedly fantastic, music. 'Wonder Understand' opens with the charming line “And when we argue it’s a lonely sound,” which struck me with its innocence and profundity. The album closes on a slight downer for me, the disappointing 'Slow Rock Forever'. The synth backing and treated vocals sound completely out of place on this album, and while lyrically engaging, the song simply does not belong here. Roy Moller has had praise from many quarters, including John Peel and ex-bandmate Stevie Jackson of Belle and Sebastian, and, on this evidence, it is well-deserved. Despite growing up in Edinburgh and then living in Glasgow, Moller has somehow tapped into a rich vein of classic Americana and excels in its execution. This is a literal nine-out-of-ten album, where one track, the aforementioned 'Slow Rock Forever', souring the collection slightly. Still, one could always program one’s CD player to stop at nine, I suppose…

Track Listing:-
1 Byres Road Saturday
2 Downstate Update
3 My Skyscrapers
4 More Fool You
5 Wonder Understand
6 You Did Ask
7 If You Knew Where To Look
8 Rhythm From The Rails
9 Out Of Print
10 Slow Rock Forever

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Scottish singer-songwriter and poet Roy Moller talks to John Clarkson about his new poetry collection 'Be My Baby', which was inspired by the story of his adoption and which saw his birth mother travel from Toronto to Edinburgh to give birth to him.
Interview (2015)
Interview (2012)


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