Big Hogg - Gargoyles album review

Glasgow sextet channel Canterbury, CA and Caledonia with unorthodox character

Big Hogg - Gargoyles album artwork

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Despite sometimes looking like a Baader-Meinhof cell from 1978, this Scottish ensemble nonetheless make a pleasingly gentle sound – at first, anyway.

Jazzy chord progressions and fluttering flute lend a hippie-ish autumnal tinge to the West Coast harmonies of Solitary Way, and despite Vegan Mothers Day’s feisty guitar riff and honking horns, you get the impression you’re unlikely to find offence anywhere on Big Hogg’s second LP. Even when flautist Sophie Sexon takes the mic from Justin Lumsden on Augogo and languidly proclaims, ‘I’m the wasp in the room, have you never been stung?’ it’s to a swinging, brass-soaked backing that’s a little too lounge-y for its own good. She later manages to sound like Sophie Ellis-Bextor on the sweetly lilting reverie Drunk On A Boat. So when The Beast sees her turn into a cackling, possessed femme fatale it adds a welcome element of surprise to things, which is only amplified when the gently cantering My Banana features a cooing, elegant verse and a chorus that begins: ‘FUCK OFF! And give me peace…’ Those kind of juxtapositions of mood might jar on some ears, but to others it’ll reinforce Big Hogg’s best assets – originality, unconventionality and personality.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock