Something seems amiss as Faulty Inner Dialogue, the third record from Kid Canaveral, starts up. The starkness of the misfiring electronic opening to ‘Gun Fhaireachadain’ is such that it’s easy to think the mp3 is corrupt or the CD is skipping. It’s not until David MacGregor’s warm Scots burr cuts in that the track clambers to its feet, only to summarily knock itself over again.
“And I don’t see the fireworks that you’re seeing” he confesses as the song – a meditation on sleepwalking into a relationship before coming to – flowers into a beautiful mix of plangent guitars and a fusillade of drums, the contrast between the electronic and traditional underscoring the schism of miscommunication.
‘Fhaireachadain’ is a Gaelic word meaning the act of awakening. It’s fitting for the song, but also for the record, which is a potent musical statement from a band hitherto known for pleasingly unpretentious, pogoing power pop. Now a five piece, with new member Michael Craig handling the digital glitch, they have leapt into sparkling new territory.
It’s yielded one of indie rock’s songs of the year. Bitingly funny and scintillatingly smart, ‘First We Take Dumbarton’ does what few songs can: distils our contemporary culture – and woeful lack thereof – into four minutes of pulsating, palm-muted thrum and scree. Continuing a headstrong, very Scottish, freewheeling tradition, it shows the paranoid, pointless, parlous state we’re in while still managing to be uplifting. The full lyric could be reproduced here, but there’s just not the space.