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Wednesday 19 June 2024

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John Douglas.

Oct 4, 2023

Frontman of 90s, jangly indie-pop group goes acoustic, releases an eponymous album of vulnerable folk-pop songs, and includes reworkings of old favourites and a cover of an 80s classic. It really is a tale as old as indie frontmen. Or is it?

John Douglas, of Trashcan Sinatras fame, has recorded eleven songs (some new, some old) live at the Kyoti studio in Glasgow for a new self-titled record.  Mixed and mastered by studio operator Mark Freegard, ‘John Douglas’ proves a journey of vulnerability and freedom, with classic tracks given new meanings through recent worldly events. Naturally, the vocals are weathered, and when revisiting some of the better-known Trashcan Sinatras tracks such as ‘Weightlifting’, ‘Leave Me Alone’, and ‘The Sleeping Policeman’, Douglas leaves himself wide open with just a guitar, and uses that to turn them almost into shanties, or at the very least, sophisticated campfire songs.

Then there’s the cover of Prefab Sprout’s ‘We Let The Stars Go’. Having recently worked with Martin McAloon, Douglas blesses the track with a raw munity that is not present on the Sprouts original, and elevates it from a middling soppy pop song defined by its era, to a ballad of loss and distant memories. Douglas transforms this track to make it personal; a memoir to a bygone time of indie’s heyday, a period that no one realistically wants to revisit, but the fondness remains nonetheless.

For the aforementioned reformed indie frontman, John Douglas’ self-titled offering is not so much a ray of light, but a hovel of twisted nostalgia wrapped in an appealing blanket of acoustic folk. It will not burn a great desire in those of a Trashcan persuasion, but those with a want for progression can accept this for what it is: a record that is jarring, slightly soulful, seductive and twistedly melancholic.

Will Madden.

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