De Rosa -‘Weem.’
For a town of roughly 20,000, Bellshill has more than punched above its weight musically: not only were Sharleen Spiteri and Sheena Easton born in the town, so too were Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits and the Soup Dragons formed here, and also De Rosa.
This is the band’s third album, and their first album in 7 years. Having released Mend and Prevention on the Delgados’ Chemikal Underground label, the band have moved to another Glasgow independent label, run by another of Scotland’s most acclaimed bands, in this case Mogwai’s Rock Action.
The album starts off very strongly indeed. The opening ‘Spectres’ moves from understated to anthemic and back again. It would have been easy to fill the album with tracks like this – fortunately the band and consequently the album (up to a point) are stronger for them not doing so. Second track ‘Lanes’ sees them in more frail musical territory, as if forging a link between Alasdair Roberts and Frightened Rabbit. Then ‘Chip On My Shoulder’ takes the album to someplace else, whilst continuing the theme of the album
– and it’s deservedly been another one of the tracks to do the rounds from the record.
The thing is that while there’s a beautiful Scottish melancholy running through the album, it does let go slightly of your attention from the fourth track ‘Scorr Fank Juniper’ (no, that’s not a spelling mistake) onwards until the penultimate track ‘Devils.’ The reality is that losing attention with the middle part of this album is something that happened several times with the album, not just after one play.
So, it’s good to have De Rosa back, and on the evidence if this album, they certainly have it in them to make a really strong album, and I think their style is far better served on an independent label than a major that would have most likely insisted on several facsimiles of a couple of tracks. Let’s hope that however long their fourth album takes, that they make sure it plays to all their strengths.
Weem is out now on Rock Action.