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The Savings And Loan - Today I Need Light (Album Review)

Monday, 15 November 2010 Written by Jonny Rimmer
The Savings And Loan - Today I Need Light (Album Review)

Religion and Alcohol have become somewhat synonymous with the city of Glasgow over the years, and Scottish poet Martin Donnelly’s strait-laced but passionate lyrics beat these themes throughout his band’s debut album ‘Today I Need Light’.

There’s an almost parochial atmosphere to tracks like 'The Virgin’s Lullaby', and The Savings and Loan employ minimal instrumentation as Donnelly’s lyrics take centre stage.

Image'Catholic Boys in the Rain' even includes an introductory segment read by Glasgow poet Tom Leonard, which could be described as an alcoholic’s prayer.

Musically, the touchstones are a little more difficult to pin down. There’s a definite Americana flavour to some of the earlier tracks on the album, and Leonard Cohen is a clear influence – perhaps inevitable considering the poetic emphasis, but Donnelly’s voice definitely captures the scent of melancholic beauty that Cohen became renowned for.

Mid-way through the album things do get slightly cluttered. The guitar lines become rather indistinguishable amidst Donnelly’s lumbering rhetoric, and the listener may find themselves longing for a harmony or two.

However the songs are most remarkable when Andrew Bush’s multi-instrumental skills come to the forefront and it is the last two tracks on the album, 'Her Window' and 'A Pleasing Companion', which truly showcase the band’s potential with lilting strings and a cascading brass arrangement.

Six years since the band formed, it’s perhaps taken a while for The Savings and Loan to say what they’re truly trying to say. The finished product is impressive though; a relaxed yet focused debut that yet again showcases the talent lurking within the Scottish Indie scene.

Stereoboard Album Rating: 8/10

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