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This Gift

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Album Review

It's easy to look at the Sons and Daughters as a vehicle for Adele Bethel's vocals, easy to overlook the rest of the band because she is so arresting. Her voice has star quality, big and powerful but subtle and rich. She never over-sings and at times she can send shivers down your spine. You could see her singing power ballads and making tons of money. That she chooses to sing with the band she does is pretty amazing; that the band she sings for knows how to use her vocals to their fullest potential is also pretty amazing. This Gift is truly a team effort and a triumph for the band. Their previous records have been good — The Repulsion Box contained some memorable songs ("Dance Me In" being particularly ace), but it was lacking something. Possibly what was lacking was Bernard Butler. His production here is much fuller than Victor Van Vugt's on The Repulsion Box; it's also more immediate and punchier. His use of buckets of reverb, differing guitar tones, and glittering arrangements gives the record a more three-dimensional feel. It gives the band a sheen of glamour and drama that was lurking below the surface waiting to burst out in a shower of mascara and the fire of love. The musicians in the band all raise the stakes with their performances, too. Scott Paterson's guitar cuts and shreds with abandon, dropping memorable riffs into almost every song. The rhythm section of David Gow on drums and Ailidh Lennon on bass is rock-solid and tighter than spandex. Most of all, what has changed for the band is the quality of the songs. Instead of a decent record with a few gems, This Gift is so full of intensity, drama, and memorable songs that it's hard to isolate any as the highlights. If pressed, though, you could go for "Darling," a dramatic and menacing rocker with a brilliantly bright chorus filled with angelically harmonizing Bethels; or "This Gift," which evokes X with the desperate vocal interplay between Bethel and Paterson and the ragged beauty of the melody; or maybe the raging "House in My Head," which gives Bethel a chance to really let loose; or "Gilt Complex," a tough song with some of Paterson's rawest playing. Really though, just about any song could be singled out for praise. It's that strong of an album, strong enough to satisfy a desire for tattered glamour, for dramatic, inspired, and powerful guitar rock of the kind that maybe only the Bad Seeds at their best could once conjure up. Sons and Daughters are that good.

Customer Reviews

Excellent work from an underrated band.

It's a solid album I purchased online after coming home after a failed attempt at getting an iTunes card (emailed iTunes about that). I definatly enjoyed the whole album and I am glad I looked into this band. Top Songs I think are Guilt Complex, Darling, and Goodbye Service, though there is no song lacking awesome on the album.


Formed: 2001 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Glasgow's Sons and Daughters don't follow the indie pop formula made famous by their counterparts (Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura). Adele Bethel, David Gow, Scott Paterson, and Ailidh Lennon, who formed the group in 2001, compose a rough-cast folk-rock sound similar to the likes of Smog and Cat Power. Prior to getting together, Bethel (vocals and guitar) and Gow (drums) toured and recorded with the Zephyrs and Arab Strap. Paterson (guitar/bass) chiefed March of Dimes for a short time while Lennon...
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This Gift, Sons and Daughters
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