Syvdoh: Death 1 Syvdoh 0
Iffy Folk Records
Album three from Glasgow’s Syvdoh and the this is a kind of concept album, the subject matter of which should be obvious from the title. This is Syvdoh though, so don’t expect an ordinary experience or anything too overwrought or serious, thought it has its moments. This is an exploration of the seedy and sinister, the murky depths of East End gangster life, but also of ordinary lives impacted by misfortune and sadness.
The seven tracks on the album manage to cover many bases. One minute uproariously funny, the next dramatically poignant. The humour is often tinged with a raw edge of shock, fear or impending threat. Cleverly black and witty poetic lyrics that smack of reality, painting stark pictures of life in, mainly the East End, of Glasgow. Sounds too gloomy? Well, pair all of that with their talent for an addictively glorious melody and you have a perfect combination.
I Held a Blade Over Your Throat
The album opens with the thumping beat and soaring chorus of Oh the Maestro. The first of the tales of death, the unfortunate subject in the back of the car heading for an unhappy ending. “All the way from Drumchapel to Syvdoh is a long way to go, covered head to toe”.
Whatever you do, don’t watch The Night Stalker on Netflix, followed by a listen to the sinisterly dark humour of Hector McGlubjaggan. You might never sleep again… “I was hiding in your bedroom last night, I held a blade over your throat…” Throbbing bass underlies the grim tale layered with delectable licks and riffs.
There is something Arab Strap-esque (the band not the…well, you know) about the band, perhaps it is just the fact they are a duo singing, more often than not, close to the bone lyrics about gritty subjects in broad accents.
On the subject of all things Arab, Arabian Nights at the Gable End is like a performance poem, with a repetitive incessant keyboard flourish tone and droning accordion backing the riotous story of a pub quiz going horribly wrong.
Syvdoh then go all King Creosote meets The Undertones on us with the punk folk of The Hero of Loch Laidon. Don’t get me wrong, the subject matter isn’t any less sinister than the rest of the album… “He worked for the Post Office, that’s how he got our addresses”
The penultimate track bucks the trend slightly. The subject matter is still real-life Glasgow, but the build of the song and the reaction it induces is entirely different. Blackford Crescent is a beautifully lament, spoken word verses telling the story of a seemingly ordinary life tinged with tragedy. Mix that with a heartfelt near falsetto chorus backed with quietly brushed drums, sensitively plucked and strummed guitars, and elegiac piano, what they have created is an all-consuming, tear inducing experience.
All told here, Syvdoh present seven tracks of preposterously addictive rhythms and seriously engrossing sagas. Death shouldn’t be this enjoyable.
Syvdoh – Bandcamp
All words by Neil Hodge. More writing by Neil on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find Neil online at his blog thegingerquiff