Live review: Lost map presents Monoganon’s Family Gathering with Eugene Tombs, The Pictish Trail at CCA, 9/11/13

monoganon-0646Lost Map is Johnny Lynch’s newly reconfigured record label, now based on the Isle of Eigg, he will be continuing the work he began in Fife with some of Scotland’s most interesting musical projects, finding new ways to market their music.

Tonight he performs a solo as The Pictish Trail, apologising for arriving in a rather sweaty state, which he believes causes him to resemble Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances, (a reference lost on the younger musicians) he sets up a running joke for the rest of the evening.

He performs a selection of songs from his Secret Soundz albums and a composition from Beck’s Song Reader, ‘The Wolf Is On The Hill’, which features some rather dainty howling.

Lost Map’s plan for world domination – selling music on postcards – has so far not made great in-roads: “with postcards and pity we will rise to the top of the charts” he says, performing ‘Long In The Tooth’.

Eugene Tombs, featuring some familiar Glasgow faces, up the volume with some Fall-ish skiffle and Zappa-esq clarinet, soon make way for Monoganon.

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John B McKenna’s long distance project recorded their second album, F A M I L Y, in this very room and are back to launch it as the first Lost Map release.

They weave a dark and complex sound with distinctive guitar and jazzy drums, oblique lyrics bathed in reverb.

They produce a hybrid of 1990s college grunge (‘Bean A Daughter’), fuzzy rock (‘Best Pals’) and the unsettling ubiquitous “psyche-folk” (‘Arc of the Tuna Fish’).

The album, the majority of which they perform this evening, is one that will require multiple listens to decode and discover, there are some new wave touches in the driving bass, and the brushes and beaters recall the meditative drumming of some later Low albums.

“Is that your thing?” asks McKenna, trying to illicit a reaction; tonight Monoganon seem less chaotic than some of their previous shows, but their music can still be perplexing and doesn’t offer easy gratification.

“I’d be happy if you booed”, he seems a little bemused with the audience’s passivity, with songs that have no choruses, the hooks take a little while to pierce the consciousness.

‘The Devil’s Finger’, an older song, lifts the room for the end of the set, but albums and zines will have to be purchased from the merch stall, perhaps along with some of those Lost Map musical postcards, for Monoganon to become true familiars.

More photos

Words: Lucy Brouwer
Photos: Arpad Horvath

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