RADIO SWEETHEARTS - New Memories

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Teenage Fanclub and BMX Bandits related. UK release frm 1997.

"This is a wonderfully homespun album which highlights the skills of the band, from the graceful, looping pedal steel to the deft, economical drumming. What stands out most of all, though are the warm, husky, surprisingly "American" vocals along with the matching strength of the songwriting. Singer John Miller's originals such as the title track, "New Memories" and the weepy "Fallen Out Of Love Again" show a strong and sensitive understanding of country roots. Indie-pop sweetheart Francis Macdonald (drummer for Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits, and a slew of other power-pop projects) contributes steady, upbeat rhythm, as well as a few truly fab songs, particularly the clever commentary on the genre, "Every Other Song" ("...every other song I hear/'s about drinkin' too much beer...") and the doleful "Lonely Footsteps." He brings an indiepop sensibility into the mix, but with admirable subtlety. And of the handful of cover tunes, the best is a sweet take on the Freddy Fender classic, "Is Anybody Going To San Antone?" As an album, "New Memories" has rough-hewn edges, but in a very good, very un-Nashville way. Recommended!" - Amazon

"New Memories, the full-length debut from Scotland's Radio Sweethearts, evokes quite a few old memories. That is, if you can remember when country music was as comfortable and homespun as the needlepoint work that adorns the cover of the record (courtesy of band member John Miller and his wife Susan).

Miller and ex-Teenage Fanclub but still BMX Bandit Frank MacDonald are the creative principals in this five-man ensemble that made its debut last year on MacDonald's Shoeshine Records imprint (and from which this disc was licensed). From the sound of things, the pair could readily make the move to Nashville and set up shop on Music Row, cranking out retro-twang chestnuts for hunky stars in hats.

Which isn't to say that frontman Miller is not perfectly capable of handling the vocal work himself. He has a beautiful Haggard-esque honky-tonk baritone, rich and warm with emotion and delivered without a hint of affectation to tip you off to his country of origin. But his larger strength is his ability to pen some classic-sounding weepers: The title track is a Nashville hit waiting to happen ("I've got new memories to replace/The ones that used let me see your face/And though I've tried I can't find a trace/Of the love these new memories have replaced"), and "We're Fallen Out Of Love Again" is a gorgeous bummer.

MacDonald also does his part to keep the tradition intact by penning album opener "Lonely Footsteps" and following it with "Every Other Song" ("...I hear is 'bout drinking too much beer/And unrequited love just stays and grows") and "Beer & Whiskey", adding the requisite libation while absorbing a handful of "sad, sad songs." In the midst of the impressive original material would be not one, but two, nods to Hank Williams, as the band casually knocks out versions of "I Saw The Light" and "A House Of Gold" just after loping through an equally relaxed version of the old Charley Pride hit "Is Anybody Going To San Antone"."