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The slow guitars and sad hobo-romantic lyrics put Hobotalk in an American singer/songwriter/folk tradition that fit northern Europe around 2000 very well. Coming from the small Scottish coastal town of Dunbar, Marc Pilley spent his younger years traveling around England and Europe as a troubadour. Finally settling down in his hometown again, he wrote music and played with Little Hopetown Giants. But soon he formed Hobotalk together with Al Denholm, whom he knew from school, Ross Edmond, and Lain Bruce. In November 1999, they released the five-track EP Pictures of Romance, which helped bringing them on a tour with blues-rockers Gomez. This lead to a contract with Virgin, and in May 2000, their debut album, Beauty in Madness, was released, revolving much around Pilley and his stories of wandering and homecoming. Hobotalk can be compared to other Scottish acts like Belle and Sebastian or Arab Strap, but is much more straightforward with no ironic twists to the purely sentimental lyrics. Together with the mellow music, this makes them related to the so-called new acoustic movement, together with bands like Kings of Convenience and I Am Kloot, even though Hobotalk is likely to attract a slightly older audience, lacking the pop image of the others. ~ Lars Lovén

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