Sometimes it’s hard not to just adore Sons & Daughters. Now on their fourth album, they continue softening hearts and then stomping on them. For all their attempts to be Scotland’s answer to Pussy Galore, they’ve always been a little bit more Hello Kitty in terms of their attitude and sound. The drums still rumble low and deep as they should, the guitars still jangle the nerves and the tumbling echoey interplay between frontwoman Adele Bethel and guitarist Scott Patterson still makes the crowd swoon and sneer. However, there’s no repeats with this quartet just yet. For every gig they play, for every album they put out they still feel fresh and full of energy.
Playing a murky set upstairs at the trusted Lexington, promoting new album Mirror Mirror, the band’s scuzzy ’50s aesthetic fits in perfectly. This venue often feels like it should be haunted by the ghosts of East End gangsters or creatures from the deepest part of the Thames. Sons & Daughters thrive on that same spooky vibe. They bundle and twist their way through their serpentine catalogue, dipping into early favourites, chart hits (the utterly wonderful Gilt Complex) and brand new tracks with giddy abandon.
After three albums of straight up rockabilly goodness, they’ve added Memphis horns and even saxophones to the newer numbers, fleshing out the weaker moments – of which, thankfully, there are very few. There are still the whoops, grunts, sha-la-la’s and handclaps, but there seems a new maturity, a grungier, looser feeling. But don’t expect a sudden fork into rural psychedelia or folk naivety with this four-piece; there just isn’t time.
A cursory glance through song titles would indicate a band who thrived on confrontation and danger (Fight, Broken Bones, Iodine, Split Lips, Blood, Chains, Choked amongst others) but actually the real revelation is the affection and ease they feel with each other. Yes, there are stolen glances and angry foot stomps, but there’s no real danger and no real menace lurking. This is a dress-up game. Bathed in soft light, Adele is more of a teacher than a harpie. That might sound like damning praise, but who wants aggression these days? Life is hard enough. Following in the footsteps of numerous bands from around the River Clyde, they continue to hypnotise with melodies that sound more like lullabies than warnings.