(The following article was written for ARTROCKER MAGAZINE issue #121, June 2012)
“First and foremost, we play what we do because we like it – we don’t go out our way to make something overtly ‘original,’” explains vocalist James Allan. ‘For instance, we’ve just started writing a new track with a Balkan influence – simply because we went to a Balkan night-out and loved the pace and passion of it all. We don’t like sticking to one particular style is what I’m saying.”
To give some indication of their sound, various commentators have likened the band (and James’s vocal style in particular) to a range of established artists from Frank Black to Joe Cocker and they have even been described as being ‘Dylanesque.’
“Captain Beefheart is a name that gets flung at us, which is great though I don’t really see it myself. I’ve read his story – I don’t think I’m quite so eccentric!”
Having known each other since their school days, Mummy Short Arms have been together some eight years, but they haven’t always sounded thus:
“I probably tried to sing more conventionally back then. But it just didn’t seem natural singing our music in my Scottish accent. We’re not against bands sounding ‘Scottish’ but we don’t want to sort of over-publicise the fact that we’re a ‘Scottish’ band. Equally, it could be levelled that we sound ‘American’ or whatever – but it’s just the sound I make. And of course the band’s main influences are more ‘bluesy’ and from that side of the water.”
This is indeed being reflected by feedback from The States and Canada to tracks from their debut album on Glasgow’s ‘Flowers In The Dustbin’ label being played out on various radio stations.
“We’ve always been a ‘live’ band principally,” explains James, “but we’ve struggled in previous recordings we did off our own bat to get across the passion and feel of our ‘live’ performance. I think we’ve managed that this time. Most tracks were done in three hours or so, and in fact ‘Coyote Surprise,’ was a one-take job, just with me on guitar and a few of the boys doing what they wanted. We sat down, pressed ‘record’ and off we went. You can hear doors open and close in the background!”
Now that’s original!
(‘Old Jack’s Windowless Playhouse’ is released on May 21st
(For your free download of the track, ‘Where’s The Mortuary?’ simply visit the Original Penguin website.)