Album Review – Dominic Waxing Lyrical

Dominic Waxing Lyrical -‘Rural Tonic.’ (Tenement Records)

There’s something quite refreshing about the songwriting of Dominic Harris. In as much as anything, it’s the way he thinks and writes out of the box. In a musical world with too many indentikit pop stars,and landfill indie failing to offer the alternative it thinks it does, this is much needed. Following on from 2015’s rather fine Woodland Casual album, here he delivers another collection of off-kilter, quirky but really rather wonderful songs from the Edinburgh man.

It’s a manic – yet an extremely literate album. It’s perhaps a gamble starting the album with ‘King’ – perhaps the most impenetrable song on the album, with its descending chromatic scales played glissando and frankly bonkers lyrics, of which ‘cross my arse with silver! Crown my cock with pearls!’ (sic) are the easiest to understand. Yet while repeated plays over several months haven’t quite revealed what the hell he’s going on about, it does seem to make sense (well, sort of) within the context of the album.

While many singer-songwriters will have a backing band of some description, what adds to the different flavour of this album is that there are, essentially, two. There’s Mr. McFall’s Chamber – who do much of the orchestral parts, and 17 Seconds favourites Aberfeldy. So the former bring alive the likes of ‘King’ and ‘Laika’; the melodic genius of the latter work their magic on tracks like ‘Susan Sontag’ and ‘River Styx.’

The long-defunct Melody Maker magazine described him as ‘DIY-baroque-folk’ which remains spectacularly accurate. A tonic for the troops, then? Indeed, and the rest of us.


Rural Tonic is out now on Tenement Records



Album Review – Dominic Waxing Lyrical


Dominic Waxing Lyrical -‘Woodland Casual.’ (Tenement)

The return of Dominic Harris has been a longtime coming. It’s been nearly eighteen years since the Edinburgh artist released his debut, self-titled album (now going for quite a lot of money on discogs). Those gigs in the past reportedly included blood, nudity, police raids and ‘shoddy transvestisism’ amongst other things.

This album is more band-orientated, and sees him joined by labelmates Riley and Murray Briggs of Aberfeldy and George McFall of Clean George IV (now trading as CGIV); at live gigs Aberfeldy bassist Ken McIntosh has joined the lineup. The album launch a few months ago indicated that this sophomore album from the man once described as punk Jake Thackeray was special, now it gets a full release and it most definitely is.

Quirky and deliciously dark, the album features songs in Waltz-time that suggest Tim Burton shuld look no fruther for the man to write the soundtrack to his next film. With song titled including ‘Scarecrow’ ‘End of the world’ and ‘Hell On Earth’ you know this is no set of demos for the next One Direction album, but rather that of a master maverick songwriter at work. My personal favourite is the sinister waltz that is ‘Janitor’ – but amongst the other highlights are ‘Thursday (Searching)’ and ‘Nightwatchman.’

A gorgeously, dark cult treat.


Woodland Casual is released on February 2 by Tenement.

Gig Review – Dominic Waxing Lyrical

Gig Review: Dominic Waxing Lyrical/Norman Silver & The Gold
Edinburgh Henry’s Cellar Bar, November 25

Henry’s Cellar Bar is exactly that – in the best possible way, it’s a bar, it’s a cellar and if the person in front of you isn’t taller than you, it’s close enough to see the whites of the performers’ eyes. And it’s a packed show for two excellent bands who make a wonderful noise on a cold evening in Edinburgh.

I must confess that Norman Silver & The Gold were a new name to me. But their wonderful mix of punk, country, surf and rockabilly would probably lead to a knees up in a graveyard. Their very nice guitarist Neil Lincoln Bateman actually gave me a copy of their last album, War Memoirs on vinyl before the gig (seriously, why can’t more bands be this generous to reviewers? We *might* be more generous in return!). They kick off their set with that album’s opener The Gathering Storm’ and it’s a welcome start. With other soongs like ‘Promised Land’ and ‘China Doll’ this is a band who make one helluva racket in a glorious, wonderful way.

It’s been eighteen years since Dominic Waxing Lyrical released their first album. I’m not quite sure what Dominic Harris has been up to in the last eighteen years, exactly, but having heard his forthcoming Woodland Casual album, he’s been writing some great songs. Though not officially out until next year, tonight is the launch party for Woodland Casual, which is a fantastic album, and if there is any justice, will be seen as one of the great records of 2015 (after the year I’ve had, I’m not sure there is much justice in the world, but that’s by the bye). With the help of his mates from Aberfeldy (guitarist Riley Briggs, drummer Murray Briggs and Ken McIntosh on bass) they tear into the album.

There’s a great amount of banter going on, and Dominic gives Riley a bell to ring if he goes on too much. Either way, it’s entertaining. They play the album through in sync – and at the moment, I think my favourites are ‘Scarecrow’ and ‘Janitor.’ The rumours around Dominic are legend – and given that the encore features him dressing as a bishop (without a mitre) and singing the first lines of various hymns – many of which I remember before my fall from grace – it ends an entertaining evening…