Pelts, Mitchell Museum, Kevin P. Gilday & The Glasgow Cross at The Glad Café, 23/2/18

All six members of alternative rockers Pelts are pressed together a little snugly on the Glad’s modestly sized stage, giving the impression of a slightly awkward family photograph.

This evening, they launch their new double A-side single, ‘The Tingles/Less Than Three’.

Their full lineup – drums, bass, synthesisers, two (sometimes three) guitars, and two lead vocals – ensures that the layered lushness of their new recordings translates well into a live setting.

Pelts stand out from similar acts in their genre due to the sharp vocal interplay between the two lead singers: pleasingly, they don’t go in for two-part harmony overkill, but often sing the same lines along with one another, giving Pelts’ folky hooks a certain plaintiveness.

For me, the sparser moments have the most appeal, such as the opening verse of ‘Less Than Three’, in which both vocalists glide smoothly atop a softly picked acoustic guitar and gentle washes of keyboard noise.

Mitchell Museum, the first of two support acts this evening, are Glasgow stalwarts, having formed ten years ago and enjoyed a wave of fervent press attention for debut album The Peters Port Memorial Service.

They’ve certainly gone all out on aesthetics tonight, draping the stage in fairy lights (and not the cheap kind either).

While I certainly find their enthusiasm endearing, I can’t help thinking that their guitars-and-laptops, emo-inflected sound – more than a little derivative of The Postal Service – does date their overall offering to a very particular early-noughties moment in pop music, which hasn’t yet matured enough to be referenced so bluntly.

As a band who have been around a while and have had their fair share of success with that indietronica template over the past decade, it would be interesting to see Mitchell Museum evolve in future, taking their not insignificant melodic and instrumental talents in a more progressive direction.

First support of the evening comes from Kevin P. Gilday & The Glasgow Cross, the inaugural live outing for the celebrated spoken word artist and Ralph Hector, guitarist and synth wizard also of Pelts.

They shade the stage in considerably darker hues: Hector uses digital drums, samplers and pedals to whip up an ominous motorik squall reminiscent of The Fall’s 1990s output (à la Code: Selfish), while Gilday lets loose his famously caustic diatribes in a tone which manages to sound both entirely disinterested and deeply disgusted.

Lest anyone be put off from engaging on that count, Gilday’s disgust is aimed squarely at his own inadequacies and depravities as that quintessential cliché, the modern man, with wonderfully excoriating odes to rationalising alcoholism on ‘The Man Who Loved Beer’ and toxic masculinity on ‘Me, Masculine Me’.

Hector’s musical contribution, unexpectedly euphoric at points, adds an exciting new dimension to Gilday’s already well-established down-in-the-gutter narratives: keep your ears pricked up for what The Glasgow Cross have to offer next.

Words: Graham Gillespie

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