A Sunny Day in Glasgow: Scribble Mural Comic Journal

Listening to Scribble Mural Comic Journal is rather like the moment when Lucy enters the wardrobe and suddenly finds herself confronting the magnificent, snow-covered paradise of Narnia. Just as Lucy leaves the prosaic world of everyday life behind, the listener presses Play and is confronted by a wonderland of cascading choirs and instrumental euphoria. Following upon its 2006 five-song EP, The Sunniest Day Ever, A Sunny Day in Glasgow's debut disc resembles what might result had an eccentric electronic experimentalist taken “Cabinessence” and exploded it into thirteen cubistic shards.

Using mandolins, banjos, samplers, guitars, bass, and drums, Ben Daniels and his vocalist sisters Robin and Lauren generate a dizzying rumble of ethereal dream-pop. After “Wake Up Pretty” opens the collection with an overture of willowy haze and pitter-pattering drums, the album proper gets moving with “No. 6 Von Karman Street” where a surging shuffle beat buoyantly propels Robin and Lauren's celestial vocal mass. The opening songs establish A Sunny Day in Glasgow 's style but the better material comes later. Especially heavenly is “Ghost in the Graveyard” where the sirens work their entrancing magic and electric guitars snarl but it's trumped by “5:15 Train” where a humongous pulse pounds raucously, rendering the singer's words unintelligible in the process. “Lists, Plans” ups the experimental ante when swirling vocal melodies intersect in classic psychedelic style alongside a quivering wah-wah pulse that sounds like it's burbling underwater, while the off-kilter wooziness is extended even further by the fractured guitar caterwaul that dominates “C'mon.” At album's end, “The Best Summer Ever” sails off into the sunset on a jubilant wave of clangorous shoegaze. Fans of My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Cocteau Twins, Lush, et al. should find much to like about the Daniels' experimental confections too.

May 2007