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  More on: Sons And Daughters

The Repulsion Box
  Album Review - 5-6-2005
100 Club, London
  Live Review - 12-5-2005
Sons And Daughters: children of legacy
Gaudi pop
Sons and Daughters: an intrinsic legacy leading to… [header]

Sons And Daughters are on the move - playing shows galore to promote their proper debut album ‘The Repulsion Box’ [see Reviews - Live and Album] reaching Norwich on the night we speak with guitarist/co-singer Scott Peterson. Adele Bethel (vocals, guitar, piano), Ailidh Lennon (bass, mandolin, piano) and David Gow (drums/percussion) are some place else at the venue.

The name of the band comes from a dream Adele had some years ago: Bob Dylan was standing in her back garden singing ‘The Times They Are-A Changing‘, and she woke up immediately after he sang the line “Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command”. Three years ago the band’s roots were sown when Ailidh and Adele started writing songs on guitar and piano. Ms Bethel knew Gow since touring together with Arab Strap and he came in on the drums. One night Adele saw Scott do his own solo acoustic thing and asked him to join.

This exciting band was originally met with indifference and their debut disc was initially issued in the US only. Having produced one of the most intriguing albums of the year, so far - Gang Of Four-meets-demonic Debbie Harry [or it is simply Siouxsie Sioxsie?] - the Glasgow quartet make, to coin a phrase, ‘Gaudi pop’: seemingly desperate elements bond and form something striking, stimulating and spellbinding.

S&D are set to tour for a long time. So, how’s living a nomadic life of gigging musos?

“Touring is a strange beast,” Scott replies with Scottish accent as heavy as Scottish mist, “and you get used to it quite easily; but it makes being back home more difficult because there you feel like a tourist. You miss that structure of touring and we’ll be on the road for more or less the rest of the year.”

“We do a lot of festivals as a great way of introducing ourselves to a different audience and a lot of people would come after the show and tell us how they liked what they heard… It is also a great way to check out many other bands, or just hang out with other musicians.”

Does such a long touring schedule interfere with the creative process?

“Well, it is not really conducive to creative process and we have to grab every available opportunity and moment to write, be it at rehearsals, during soundchecks, on the tour bus… It’s been difficult but we’ve manage to assemble some songs that hopefully don’t sound like the rest of the market.”

“What we wanted to do is make an album that doesn’t sound like pretty much anybody else… Jumping on the bangwagon is not our thing and the only thing we really get complaints about is the length [32 minutes]. Well, in a way it is disappointing but at the same time - it also is good because people end up playing it all over again and that‘s what we like! There were four other songs that we could put on the album but didn’t really think they fitted in with the rest of it.”

Your album was recorded in the famed [late] Kraut-producer Conny Plank’s studio; do you succumb to a geographical influence?

“Of course, the environment you record in is the very part of the process. I believe the album would have sounded completely different if we cut it somewhere else. It is quite a romantic place and it is full of memorabilia of Can, Kraftwerk, Neu!… It was really inspirational and Conny’s widow, who runs the place, told us stories when David Bowie and Iggy Pop, Brian Eno were there. Unbelievable place, so - yes, it does influence everything.”

With all the touring private life suffers obviously but, in your and Adele’s case the emotional one is sorted out although the other two...

“Yeah, Adele and I are lucky to be together but we give each other plenty of space on the road. The other two, as you say, have partners back home and it is tough on them. Being a pair in the same band is not easy and there are opposing examples: Debbie Harry and Chris Stein managed in Blondie but Annie and Dave of Eurythmics couldn’t. It is kinda nice, that’s all I can say.”

Well, Siouxsie and Budgie [of S. and the Banshees/The Creatures] are still together; isn’t Ms Sioux an idol of Adele’s? There is some Siouxsie-like agro in your singer’s onstage personality?

“Oh, yeah, she is and she’s gonna love when I tell her what you said. But, the most important female vocalist she’s inspired with is Debbie Harry. She simply adores her.”

There is a renaissance of Scottish music but there is no label like Postcard [the legendary home to Josef K and Orange Juice, for instance] in the mythical 1980s?

“True, there isn’t and I believe the reason is the way the industry is set up now. In those days it was innovative and inspirational, there was enthusiasm… The nearest thing we have right now is the Chemical Underground… Everything is run by the major labels and it looks like they are the only ones able to make some money… Not that much, at that, it looks like. I suppose Internet provides what the old labels, like Postcard, did.”

Well, you debut mini-album, ‘Live The Cup’, was issued in the US almost nine months before Britain?! Did you think it odd, like - what did we do wrong?

“No, it was fun but somewhat strange. Especially going by a record shop and seeing our disc as an expensive import!? We were just glad to have it released… Domino were interested in it but didn‘t pick it up and we ended up on this label [ba da bing!]. Adele met the man behind it before and that’s how we got involved with the American.”

Despite a splendid debut album behind you that ‘new Franz Ferdinand’ comparison hasn’t abated; does it pressure you or it is an incentive, a challenge?

“It is a huge compliment, actually. Although we know it is any easy comparison a lot of journalists grab for but we know that the only thing we have in common is the place we are from, Glasgow. They make different kind of music, very clever but also very poppy…
The other reason is that we are on the same label [Domino, in the UK] but I don’t know if history repeats itself and our success is something no-one can predict. We’d love it but there are no guarantees.”

‘The Repulsion Box’ came out the same week alongside Coldplay and The White Stripes’ albums as well as Kraftwerk’s live compilation; some tough competition?

“Very much, indeed, but we still managed to make it Top 75. We weren’t thinking of beating Coldplay and their sales are phenomenal and completely mystifying because we don’t really like that kind of rock… I think I can understand their broad appeal but they’ll never be Kraftwerk…”

“Our next album will be completely different from the previous two. It’s going to surprise a lot of people and that’s what we want, to make albums that push forward the boundaries of expectations….”

The band will spend most of the summer on the road to follow a date in London and festival appearances at Evreux (France), Eins Live (Germany), Glastonbury, Metropolis (Holland), T in The Park, Olumpic Stadium (Greece), Summer Sundae (Leicester) and Oya (Norway).

Remaining tour dates:

20 August - PukkelPop Festival, Hasselt-Kiewet, Belgium
23 August - Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh, Scotland
26 August - Carling Weekend, Leeds, England
28 August - Carling Weekend, Reading, England
(Originally published 21 June 2005)

Sons And Daughters’ album ‘The Repulsion Box’ is available now on Domino