De Rosa

24 Mar 2009 in Music

Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, 20 March 2009, and touring

De Rosa (photo - Andrew McKenna)

OFFICIALLY launching their second album on Glasgow’s Chemikal Underground label before heading out on a Scottish Arts Council Tune Up tour of Scotland, Bellshill quintet De Rosa delivered something truly special to the small but packed-full basement of Great Western Road’s Captain’s Rest.

Whether or not the UK’s tastes in Scottish popular music have shifted in recent years – if so, Franz Ferdinand can probably be thanked for that – De Rosa’s much-deserved wider fame still hasn’t quite found them yet. Still, they’re as epic and emotional a group as earlier Chemikal discoveries Mogwai and Arab Strap ever were. The band seem to charm every critic they come in contact with, and word of mouth has given them a strong support base in Glasgow.

Where much of the music on Prevention – that freshly-released second album and the follow-up to 2006’s Mend – benefits from a clean, almost pop production job and plenty of room for Martin Henry’s evocative lyrics to be heard, he has to battle against the sound of big guitars on the live stage.

That’s no bad thing; powerful, effects-driven guitars have been a part of the Glasgow sound through a lineage which includes The Jesus and Mary Chain, Mogwai and Glasvegas. De Rosa’s name certainly deserves a place in that line.

With the addition of keyboards to their sound since Mend, songs like ‘A Love Economy’, ‘Nocturne for an Absentee’ and ‘In Code’ are charming, well-observed pieces which just don’t tire easily, while ‘Flight Recorder’ in particular benefits from an utterly memorable chorus.

Henry also points out that one or two more subdued tracks constitute his “Nick Drake folk moment”. Throughout, the feeling is that De Rosa are a classic band just waiting to happen.

De Rosa play An Tobar, Mull, Tuesday 24 March; Fired Art, Fort William, Wednesday 25 March; Mad Hatter’s, Inverness, Thursday 26 March; Royal Hotel, Portree, Skye, Friday 27 March.

© David Pollock, 2009