Album Review – Ardentjohn

Ardentjohn – ‘Malin Head.’ (Adulation)

So, it’s technically summer, although in the British Isles, that’s always a bit of a gamble if you’re hoping to get decent weather. Still it gives us something to talk about, right? And while Metronomy may have delivered the track of the summer in ‘Salted Caramel Ice Cream,’ before long, the nights will be noticeably drawing in, and it will need a suitable soundtrack of Scottish melancholia.

Well, never fear, your next dose of magnificent Scottish melancholia is here. Opening with ‘Magic Everywhere’ the soundtrack is bittersweet, that feeling that things are coming to an end, or at least, not standing still, as long as you might like. And all you can do is revel in the beauty of the sunset, or you might cry. Well, hell, you might just cry anyway. It’s been a long day.

The strength of the opener is such that the title track and ‘I Wasn’t There’ (the latter with a Doves meets Coral feel, for those of you who can still remember 2002), can take a few listens before they gel as much. But like many great albums, this is one where repeated listens reap the benefits within.

Comparisons with Mogwai might not immediately be accurate or entirely spot on, but the ‘gwai can capture an emotion in a way that has a similar feel to this record. And it’s that feel that is also evident in the likes of Frightened Rabbit (sigh), The Blue Nile or Meursault. It’s those acts that show the power of sadness and somehow make it a truly beautiful thing. This is evidenced on tracks like ‘Longing To Fly’ with its repeated refrain of ‘no I won’t be afraid.’ Sometimes it’s all so, well, pretty, like on ‘Daydreaming.’ It’s just such an impressive whole as an album.

Spend forty-five minutes with this album, and the chances are those minutes will be repeated many times over…


Malin Head is released by Adulation on July 12.

Album Review: Ardentjohn


Ardentjohn -‘Waiting For The Season.’ (self-released)

Following on from their debut album On The Wire which came out in 2010, Ardentjohn, the band who began with a fistfight on the Isle of Bute are back.

And if you heard their debut, and quite reasonably fell for its gentle charms, then guess what? The same gentle charms are here again. Yes, they are folky, but panic not, they sound nothing like Mumford & Sons. This is perfect Sunday morning listening, and as with their debut, there is a gentle Scottish pastoralism that runs through the album, with those gorgeous harmonies.

Ardentjohn never set out to rewrite the rule book or challenge sonic conventions. What they do set out to do is to write and play music that is lovely, and the more people that hear this album and take it to their hearts…well that can only make the world better place, at least for a time.


Waiting For The Season is out now

The return of Ardentjohn


Following from their rather lovely On The Wire album, released in 2010, Ardentjohn will release their new album Waiting For The Season next week.

From the album, you can download ‘In The Morning’ for free.

It’s folky, with nice use of brass, and anyone who seeks to compare it to other bands is just being bloody lazy!

For the full album tracklisting and more news, head to their website

Album Review – Ardentjohn


Ardentjohn – ‘On The Wire’ (Slow Train)

There’s no shortage of bands that have ended by dissolving into fistfights…but Ardentjohn actually began with a fist fight in an Isle Of Bute Primary school playground. Sorta. Two of the band had a fight as children -then met years later on Princes St, and decided to form a band. (Interestingly, neither the press release nor the myspace reveal who had the fight – clearly this could still cause trouble all these years later).

Now a six piece, this band have put pugilism behind them to produce a debut album that is so lovely, everytime I hear it, I am almost taken aback. Whilst I wouldn’t want to use the tag ‘New Fleet Foxes’ there’s a sort of scottish pastoralism throughout this album that makes it a must hear. It doesn’t rewrite the rulebook, attack the listener or cause revolutions (least, not at this pleasant time).

Hell, nice is an adjective that’s used almost as a form of abuse rather than a compliment. So, if I can’t use ‘nice’ then, your honour, I’d like to describe it as lovely, warm, comfortable. Opening tracks ‘All That We Need’ ‘Open Road’ along with recent single ‘Home’ make this an album to treasure. Great melodies, no showing off, just a fantastic wee album.

So next time you see two wee laddies fighting it oot, tell them they never know where it might lead…


On the Wire is out now.

Make friends on their myspace page

Stream the album here