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St Christopher Medal - Hoof

  by John Clarkson

published: 27 / 8 / 2019

St Christopher Medal - Hoof
Label: Stereogram Recordings
Format: CD


Evocative and versatile Americana on second album from Scottish act St. Christopher Medal

St. Christopher Medal is a band of epic panoramas. While it is nominally Scottish, its frontman and songwriter Ali Mathieson being based in rural Perthshire, other members reside in Dorset and Teeside, and its main focus is on America, where Mathieson's brother, the band's guitarist Kenny lives in New York. Although elements of Teenage Fanclub and the Trashcan Sinatras can he heard in St Christopher's Medal, the Eagles, the Hold Steady, Jackson Browne, Gram Parsons, and - that other band of between two worlds - Crosby Stills and Nash are also clear equal influences. Ali Mathieson has the ability in his songwriting to make the mundane extraordinary. The aching, melancholic 'Country Music' finds his memories of a long ago, failed love affair re-sparked after he hears for the first time in three decades an ancient country record on the radio while driving home to take his son to cubs. The more upbeat 'Family Tent' in contrast tells of a slightly chaotic family camping trip to the Belladrum Festival in Invernesshire. Equally impressive, however, is the six minutes 'Wayne, Moon Pilot', which opens with a brief reading of Hugh Macdiarmid's 'Bonnie Brockit Bairn' by Mathieson's fourteen year old daughter Elsie against a distorted backdrop, before opening out into a beautiful piece of cinematic rock, which imagines the plight of a solitary astronaut who has spent too long on his own in outer space ("Message for anyone/This is Wayne, Moon pilot/Ready to come back down"). Similarly evocative, but again in complete contrast, is the sparse, acoustic 'Those Nights...' which muses over some of the world's best known gigs from the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club to Bob Dylan at the Free Trade Hall to more tragically the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan ("No one ever forgets those nights..."). Mathieson has a strong band in his brother, drummer David Mack, bassist Billy Nisbet and pianist Andy Jefferies, who swing effortlessly from downbeat Americana to rollicking country rock to scorched epicness to bare-as-bones acoustica. Gigs because of the geographical distance involved are inevitably a rarity, but one hopes that word-of-mouth will pay off for St. Christopher Medal and 'Hoof!' It is an album that very much deserves to be heard.

Track Listing:-
1 Fallen Angel
2 Country Music
3 Wayne Moon Pilot
4 Baseball Jacket
5 The Desert Wind and The Jazz Wolf
6 Family Tent
7 Silver Lake
8 Ties That Bind
9 Diablo
10 Those Nights...
11 Hoof!

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Interview (2015)
St Christopher Medal - Interview
John Clarkson speaks to Ali Mathieson, the front man with Scottish-formed Americana/pop act St Christopher Medal, about their debut album 'Sunny Day Machine' and why it has taken almost a decade to release and record

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Sunny Day Machine (2015)
Fabulous debut album from reflective Scottish-formed band St Christopher Medal, whose members are spread across four different parts of both Britain and America

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