Dante - I Wear Your Weight with Mine

by Bill Golembeski Rating:8 Release Date:2018-03-09
Dante - I Wear Your Weight with Mine
Dante - I Wear Your Weight with Mine

This one has choruses that explode like fireworks. I Wear Your Weight with Mine is a pretty good addition to anyone’s list of jangly Scottish rock albums. But this album ups the ante with a deeply woven folk element.

There’s a Frightened Rabbit connection with Andy Monaghan’s production. And lead singer Sean McLaughlin has worked with Idlewild’s Rod Jones. Fans of those bands won’t be disappointed. However, Dante’s sound has none of the grunge and rock drama of those groups and keeps its compass needle pointing to the warmer climes of catchy and exciting folk melodies. And, thankfully, this doesn’t sound like R.E.M. at all.

The opening tune, “Beachcomber,” keeps things simple with a drum pattern that frames Sean McLaughlin’s very Scottish vocals. Lots of emotion here. Vicky Gray’s violin bends the tune in a human way as the band becomes heavy. It’s a clever arrangement.

“The Boy and the Telephone” is the signature sound for the band. There’s a rush of energy which builds to an even greater rush of energy, and then the chorus kicks into overdrive. Ruaridh Kidd’s drums are in total sympathy to the folky drive of the music.

Other songs follow the template. “Rose” builds with passion toward the big mandolin driven chorus. “Alarm” slows things down but deepens the passion in the grooves. The song floats on a dense cushion of air. And then “Detachment Souvenir” is tense, yet it finds a space for a lovely violin solo. This one touches the emotion of The Proclaimers’ first two records.

In all fairness, there are countless jangly rock records. It’s all been done already. But this is a record that reveals its charms very slowly through repeated plays as the Scottish folk nuances rise to the surface. “Sermons” has a philosophic lyric with yet another irresistible chorus. “Everywhere” has quiet violin drama, and it is a deep pause before “Crow” returns to the band’s big quick chorus melody. But that violin (again) graces the tune and makes it dark with Loch Ness mystery.

Sorry about my obvious love for all things Scottish, but I have a great memory of the hour or so spent in pub (befriended by several pints of local brew) across the street from The Ragamuffin, a knitted clothes shop on the Royal Mile. My wife, who is an avid knitter, gave me a hopeful look and said she needed that hour or so to look at everything. What’s a guy to do?  So, I sat in the pub, ordered lunch, sipped those friendly ales, examined my vinyl purchases which included a copy of Dick Gaughan’s No More Forever, and hummed 10cc’s song, “The Things We Do for Love.” Sadly, they aren’t a Scottish band, but Eric Stewart has a pretty cool name.

Of course, the last song, “Wolves,” is slow and epic like a final nicely grooving sunset, with quiet spaces, quiet movements, quiet (and tired) eyes, a big languid violin solo, and a few piano bits. This is a slow dance of an ending. It’s kind of like a friendly ghost just fading away.

Many years ago, I found the Scottish band Five Hand Reel’s first record (with the great and before-mentioned Dick Gaughan) in a used shop. I loved it. And then I followed the highland muse through Silly Wizard, Capercaillie, John Martyn, Runrig, Shooglenifty, The Battlefield Band, two other Five Hand Reel records, The Trash Can Sinatras, Jackie Leven, the (also) before-mentioned Idlewild and Frightened Rabbit, My Latest Novel, anything on the Postcard label, Ossian, and a wonderful trio named The Gaugers and their album, Beware the Aberdonian. Oh, there have been many more, but this album by Dante stands in the good stead of any record in racks that rock, like the Stone of Scone, with all the great music from Scotland.

 

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