The Reindeer Section

It's a Scottish supah-group, y'all, and the only thing you should really be scared about is whether anyone will ever be able to top this record.

Gary Lightbody of twee-poppers Snow Patrol birthed the idea of a giant Scottish musical collaboration while drinking at a Lou Barlow show in Glasgow. He recruited a rogues' gallery of players from Scotland's most lauded indie-rock bands -- notably, Richard Colburn (percussion) and Mick Cooke (horns) from Belle & Sebastian, Aidan Moffat (vocals) from Arab Strap, and John Cummings (guitars) of Mogwai. Lightbody wrote the entire album in a day and, after corralling his cohorts in the studio, had all the tracks laid down in ten days. Sometimes it's the most hastily produced projects that are the most mind-blowing, and Y'all Get Scared Now proves this theory beyond all doubt.

You'd think that most music from the Land of Kilts would be maudlin moodiness, and you'd be partly right. This certainly isn't party music; rather, it's appropriate for quiet nights in the arms of your favorite person. Lightbody croons love songs marked by rolling rhythm lines and delicate, unobtrusive guitar work (surprising from Cummings, given Mogwai's sometimes-bombastic "this-one-goes-to eleven" tendencies). Standout quiet tracks include the pensive "The Opening Taste" and "I've Never Understood," but when Lightbody urges, "Be my home/I'll be your hope/Be the hair that knots with my hair/Be the drink when I am thirsty/Be the hand I hold at night" on "If Everything Fell Quiet," hearts flutter, knees quiver, and you know that everything's going to be okay, if only for the song's two short minutes.

Y'all Get Scared is not all spare-voiced, lovelorn musings, though. Prepare to have your socks rocked by "Tout le Monde" when the lead guitar line starts slam-dancing with the drums (although listening to it through headphones may be a bit discombobulating, what with all the switching between the right and left channels). It's like getting a Doc Marten in the ass, but only in the most pleasant sense imaginable.

If the record has a weakness, it's that it relies a little too much on contemplating gray skies rather than rocking -- something this experimental group is clearly capable of. But sometimes the quieter vibe is what you're looking for, and the Reindeer Section is poised to deliver.


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