The Unique Charms of Scottish Indie Pop


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Honeyblood, whose sophomore album Babes Never Die was released on FatCat, are the archetypal Scottish indie band: exquisitely simple songs, hooks so clever it’s absurd, and quirky charm out the wazoo. Nearly every great band — and there are many — that the Scots have given us share these four qualities, while at the same time carving out their own unique niche. Where Belle & Sebastian craft hushed chamber pop perfect for sad-eyed art school dropouts, The Jesus and Mary Chain smother teenage symphonies to god in walls of seething fuzz. Mogwai weave lush, undulating hypnotics rooted in post-rock, while CHVRCHES veer into synth-pop polished enough for big time chart action. On top of all this, Scotland has churned out some of the best jangle pop, twee, and noise pop this side of New Zealand. That first Primal Scream album, the one before Bobby Gillespie and crew discovered acid house and ecstasy, is beyond dreamy. Then there’s the Fire Engines, spazzy, Edinburgh-bred art punks from the early ’80s who were pivotal in establishing Scotland’s very first DIY scene.