Release Date: Jan 29, 2008
Record label: Domino
It's easy to look at the Sons and Daughters as a vehicle for Adele Bethel's vocals, easy to overlook the rest of the band because she is so arresting. Her voice has star quality, big and powerful but subtle and rich. She never over-sings and at times she can send shivers down your spine. You could see her singing power ballads and making tons of money.
This Gift will be somewhat of a surprise for the people who have been following Scotland's Sons & Daughters. It’s considerably more polished, pop-friendly and upbeat than their early material, with hardly a trace of the band's Americana roots (except maybe in the rockabilly guitars of "Chains"), or of the dark, claustrophia of cuts like "Fight" or "Dance Me In.” Instead, what you get is a fairly appealing mix of bright 1960s girl-group melody and whipsawed post-punk riffs. Producer Bernard Butler (ex of Suede) has encased the band's twitchy, hard-knocking sound in Spector-ish saturated washes and upped the sweetness in Adele Bethel's melodies.
Singer Adele Bethel laments the state of her own emotions with a forthrightness that borders on the schizophrenic, while Scott Paterson's chimey guitar runs rings around both Bethel and the stop-start drum work of David Gow. They oscillate wildly, but "The Nest" reveals partial siring from Phil Spector, in sound if not psyche, while clammy, nervous rockers like the vitriolic kiss-off "Darling" – cribbing its recurring riff from the Stones' "Mother's Little Helper" – veer into outright snark. Add brilliant garage mess-up "Home in My Head" and the poisoned we've-got-a-fuzzbox-and-we're-gonna-use-it petulance of closer "Goodbye Service" (hello Grinderman!), and you're left with an LP's worth of reasons not to piss off Bethel lest she aim scathing, introverted deconstruction of you on the next Sons & Daughters disc.