We're from as far north as you can go before you hit the sea... We're from such a remote place anyway that we've really got nothing else to do but to write music with each other... 

- Neon Waltz

A rainbow over Scotland and my favorite boat in the Leith harbor - Jean de la Lune...

Neon Waltz is the sweetest 6-boy rock band I think I’ve ever seen. They’re all dimples and seventies hair styles and thick accents, so Scottish they’re basically Scandinavian. Failing to hear the band one might guess that that its hometown, John O’Groats, is awfully dark - except for that short summertime when it’s oppressively light. But it's a tiny place on the edge of the North Sea and home to just about 300 people, making Neon Waltz 2% of the whole town. Obviously there's a mysterious brightness to the place.

Aerial photograph of John O'Groats by Stanley Howe (from geograph.org.uk), via Wikimedia Commons. Note the charming spouting whale offshore :)

Aerial photograph of John O'Groats by Stanley Howe (from geograph.org.uk), via Wikimedia Commons. Note the charming spouting whale offshore :)

Of course it’s the music over the incidentals that I had been aiming to emphasize here. Their songs remind me of the music I listened to last decade - energetic, snappy, cheerful, underpinned by melancholy. 

I’ve had the chance to see the band more than once since fall turned London grey and damp -  and they are sunny like (personal favorite) Broadcast is sunny. An antidote for the feelings that come with dimness. I leave their shows rattled by vibrations and utterly warm. They’ve adapted something beloved and psychedelic - there is something familiar in their songs that reminds me of California - to suit their charmed and hearty Scottishness.

I think they’ll remind you of something too, though I daren’t guess what. I just hope you get to see them play. You’ve a better chance, at the moment, if you’re in the UK… but I'll be sure to post an update when they tour further afield.

In the meantime, turn up the volume and listen:

- xo Barbara


Oh by the way! In the spirit of full disclosure... I was lucky enough to learn about these amazing dudes because they're managed by my super-talented and otherwise wonderful brother-in-law - the one and only Howie Payne.  

Comment