One of the worst things about living in Scotland is the constant reminder of the twee hipster music scene. You could mash it up with the famous “It’s shite being Scottish” scene from Trainspotting. Belle & Sebastian? Shite. Arab Strap? Shite. The Blue Nile? Shite. As for the god-awful Scottish Album Of The Year Awards? You guessed it – shite. Biffy Clyro have made the shortlist once in the five years that the awards have been running, same with Twin Atlantic. The Scottish equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize, but hipper, and with less coverage. I always tread carefully when a new Scottish band crosses my path. The sight of Belle & Sebastian at TRNSMT festival still wakes me up in a cold sweat at night. Excuse me, but those are guitars, they are meant to be battered within an inch of their lives, not tickled. Thankfully Huxtable understand what a guitar is for.
The duo from Kilmarnock (the Biffy connection widens…) make a hell of a racket considering that there are only two of them. The latest EP ‘Change Shape Future’ is a feast of swirling, heady riffs, mixed with soaring hooks, and on ‘Don’t Do Anything Fancy’… a kazoo solo! Described as “riff rock”, Huxtable are the perfect choice if ever Queens Of The Stone Age opt for a local band to open each show. Five tracks of eclectic, energetic modern rock music that tiptoes through the minefield of styles and genres. ‘Super Toxic’ powers along like Muse at their fastest, the vocals from Jordan Yates bringing to mind an edgier Matt Bellamy. Drummer Marc William Brown puts in a hell of a shift as he batters his kit into submission, an act that continues throughout the other four tracks. ‘You Got It, To Go’ is similar in feeling and vibe, a notch or two slower, but still played at a sprightly pace. ‘Break It Hard’, ‘Act Of War’, and lead single ‘Don’t Do Anything Fancy’ show a different side to Huxtable, heavier and more aggressive, especially the stunning ‘Break It Hard’. ‘Act Of War’ is another highlight, the Biffy influence is pretty strong at times on this one as the pair constantly mix it up. At times, you might think how exactly do Huxtable make this massive noise, hear this without knowing the band and you would never guess it is only two guys.
Available now. Find out more on Huxtable here.
Review: Dave Stott