Everyone knows the story about Oasis’ breakthrough 14 years ago: they were spotted at King Tuts by Creation Records boss Alan McGee, playing a 20 minute set while third on the bill, and offered a deal on the spot. This summer McGee announced that he had done it again – spotted a brilliant new band third on the King Tuts’ bill, that was “the sound of young Scotland today”. McGee told the Guardian “I hadn’t loved anything that much since the Jesus and Mary Chain demo tape in the 80s”. For a band that had been quietly working away on their sound and building buzz from the ground up, such a grand statement in a national newspaper caused a huge hike in hype and expectation. But frontman and songwriter James Allen has adjusted to it now: “through a little time we’ve became friends [with McGee]. His enthusiasm for the songs I write blows me away at times. I see him as the Malcom McLaren or Tony Wilson of this generation.”
There’s no need to question McGee’s claimed 13-years of sobriety based on this assessment: the Mary Chain’s place in the Scottish music hall of fame isn’t yet under threat, but even before they’ve signed a record deal Glasvegas look a likely candidate for future entry. They’ve borrowed from dozens of sources – a look between The Clash and the Velvet Underground, the shoegaze guitars of early Creation bands and related fuzziness from Suicide, a 50s songwriting style and Phil Spector production values – to mould their own sound unlike anything else being hawked at the moment. Lyrically they have the subtlety to write sensitively about the pain caused by absent fathers, as well as uniquely Glaswegian anthems like “Go Square Go” and “I’m Gonna Get Stabbed”. Even the NME has displayed rare good taste by declaring “Daddy’s Gone” the “…single of the year. No question”.
The release of that debut single on MP3 and limited edition 7” at the beginning of November was the culmination of two years hard work, but things have been accelerating for several months now. They’ve supported Dirty Pretty Things, The Charlatans and Ian Brown, and made more fans in high places. “Ian phoned up out of the blue saying he’d got given a demo” James says. “The guys heart, spirit and soul was an eye opener.” At the time of writing the band remain unsigned, but that surely will not remain the case as you read this. James is already thinking ahead to the debut album: “I’ve got a bunch of new songs ready that the band ain’t even heard yet. My ambition for when we make our first album will be to give as much of myself to it as I can give in the hope of making something sugary and soulful”. This year, the Twilight Sad made an indelible mark with a debut album that caught everyone by surprise. Don’t be caught by surprise in 2008: keep a very close watch on Glasvegas, the west coast’s new, new favourite band.