As a card-carrying curmudgeon and a 'been there/done that,' jaundiced music fan, it is rare that I am taken in by the star-making machinery. I am happy to report one of those occasions. I have been enjoying ballboy's debut album, Club Anthems, with its absurdly brilliant "I Hate Scotland" and their import-only EP, All The Records On The Radio Are Shite, for some time. Nevertheless, it requires something a little special to get me out midweek to a smoky club for a show. But there I was at ballboy's Seattle debut and thoroughly enjoying it. A fourpiece from Edinburgh, fronted by a weedy schoolteacher, they played a splendid fifty-minute set of alternately wistful and splenetic gems accompanied by a dense well-rehearsed Joy Division style backwash. Gordon McIntyre, (a name that evokes all the ghastly people I have been trying to avoid since Primary 7) who I suspect is ballboy, has the stage presence and limited but effective guitar stylings of David Byrne. (American readers have probably chosen to forget that David had the misfortune to be born Scottish, too.) His vocal style owes a lot to Aidan of Arab Strap but perhaps also a little to the pioneers of undiluted jock accented singing, The Proclaimers. Hopefully this only adds to the beautifully crafted little tales and musings about all sorts. There was the one about the record store clerk who'd pissed him off by suggesting they weren't "Avant-garde-enough" and the poignant "I Lost You But I Found Country Music." The highpoint of the set and McIntyre's most committed performance were during "I Hate Scotland" which I suspect could touch the hearts of grown men born just about anywhere.
Looking forward to their new album on their site, I can hardly wait to hear "You Can't Spend Your Whole Life Hanging Around With Arseholes" and "I Wonder If You're Drunk Enough To Sleep With Me Tonight."