Long Fin Killie is a Scottish band led by Luke Sutherland that plays
austere, no-nonsense pop, often countered with abrasive harmonies and
occasionally augmented with ethnic instruments.
As usual in Britain, they started out with a string of EPs and singles:
Buttergut (Too Pure, 1994), with the lengthy instrumental Butterbelly and the epic gallop of Suki,
The Heads Of Dead Surfers (Too Pure, 1995), with dissonant violin and
a hint of hip hop, and
Vanilla (Too Pure, 1995), that eventually led to the pretentious
Houdini (Too Pure, 1995).
While mixing rock with folk is not a particularly original idea, and while
the music remains cold and unnerving, the band boasts a few experiments
that intrigue (Man Ray, How I Blew With Houdini) and
the extended jam of Unconscious Gangs Of Men exploits the
trancey quality of their instrumentation for a raga/dub/jazz transfiguration
of celtic music.
In a sense, Long Fin Killie update Pentangle to the age of
Dirty Three, with more than a passing knowledge of
Pram and A R Kane.
Rhino and Hands And Lips are the singles that preceded
Valentino (Too Pure, 1996).
Godiva, the dub-tinged Pele, the funk-drenched
Kitten Heels, the dream-poppy Valentino show maturity and
The jungle-infected single Lipstick leads the album
Amelia (Too Pure, 1997) towards even less traditional sounds.
Surprisingly, a number of songs
(British Summertime, Kismet, Gold Swinger
and Bigger Than England)
are as accessible as they are experimental.
After the LFK split at the end of 1997,
Sutherland's next move was Bows, that signaled a rapid turn towards the new
fads of jungle and trip-hop.
Two female singers and string arrangements helped him make
Blush (Too Pure, 1999), a collection that displays his middle-of-the-road
taste for revising and popularizing
dream-pop (Speed Marina, Blush) and
drum'n'bass (Big Wings , Britannica) without adding a single
idea to the canon.
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