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ClothLast Night From Glasgow
Released: 15th June 2020
|LP - Limited pink vinyl||£19.99||Out of Stock|
|LP - Standard Black Vinyl||£16.99||Out of Stock|
|LP - Transparent Purple||£19.99||Out of Stock|
Pink vinyl is now sold out! Thank you for all the support.
Glasgow has an innate knack of throwing up a surprise from nowhere every now and then. Enthusiastic, young city-dwellers lock themselves up in sandstone tenements, open to the world but hermetically sealed in their own personal mythologies and throw up something unique but dripping with familiarity and warmth. The various staff members in Monorail can all claim to have some link to the arteries of activity that flow through the city, but sometimes even we get caught off guard and Cloth, a trio based here are unknown to us. Their eponymous debut album came out in November 2019 no less and promptly flew under the radar in Monorail. When we touched the needle down recently we were immediately hooked; the band instantly flow with a stillness and precision far beyond their years, a meticulous songwriting craft, an attention to production and an atmospheric soundworld that could reference so many of our heroes: Mazzy Star, Mogwai, The Blue Nile, Red House Painters…
Who knows what makes music from the central belt sound like this? Perhaps the lightlessness that pervades this part of the world, the vitamin D deficiency, we’re not sure. Cloth’s debut album begins with a reversed bass pulse, immediately recalling black nights of listening to Come On Die Young on repeat, a light snow falling on Kelvin Way, scintillating lights of the flats ahead like jewels in a dark hole. Felt introduces Rachael Swinton’s gorgeous vocal, a hint of Hope Sandoval’s whisper over a gentle 4/4 beat and bell like guitar/bass hard panned on the stereo. Swinton’s vocal carves a way straight down the middle, with washes of synth and reverb punctuating. Comparisons to The Blue Nile don’t come lightly but are deserved. The way Paul Buchanan’s own trio could carve narratives out of sparsity are echoed by Cloth, while Paul Swinton’s guitar style, in the palm muted harmonies put us in mind of songs from Hats played by Stewart Braithwaite. Demo Love, has a growling bass line that seems beamed straight from a post hardcore group from mid 90s before being completely wrongfooted by two separate drum beats that completely change the tone. The song is the group’s biggest tune, a lush, shimmering guitar song that sounds like a slightly more staccato take on Beechwood Sparks in the arrangements. Sleep, on the other hand, is a beautiful guitar-led track using ample pinched harmonics, like something from a Brian Eno late 70s album before Swinton’s vocal anchors the arrangement in a more modern pop bent. It’s all so precise, every element feels like it’s completely found its place in the world.
Cloth’s sound is defined by the close collaboration between Paul and his twin Rachael Swinton (vocals), who traces the roots of their approach to songwriting back to a Christmas present she was given by their parents as a ten-year-old: a BOSS 4-track recorder. “For a while it was just me," she says, "building up harmonies, and then we ended up with so many different 30 second clips on iTunes. A lot of them were just humorous things… power ballad experiments.” From this experimentation, the two gained an appreciation for “original takes” and the irreplicable magic of bedroom recordings, hence the title of one of the first songs they wrote, Demo Love. “The opening song on the record is an iPhone recording,” Paul begins, referring to Other. “It was really distorted originally, and came out very different when we reversed it. We try and utilise as many of those happy accidents as possible. I’d like to experiment even more going forward, with found sounds and anything that’s slightly different from bashing a chord out on the guitar.”
The marriage of minimal pop production, post-rock atmospheres, moody lyrical fancy detailing break-downs and growing up feel unique and particular to this band. Curiosity Door, for example, swims in space to emerge with a heartbreaking chorus. Their methodology seems most highlighted on early single Old Bear: instrumentally it could be Ganger, or early Tortoise but with Swinton’s lightly accented croon whisper the song is elevated into something magical. Indeed, Cloth’s debut album seems like magic and rare: a band still forming yet feeling completely fully formed, slotting seemlessly into their city’s musical heritage yet somehow standing apart.
We have the last remaining copies of Cloth’s debut album on blue vinyl, and a small batch of the white vinyl pressing. We recommend getting on board now.