It came from nowhere. No hype, no press, just some whisperings on blogs from across the Atlantic. In the year of (disappointing) second albums from Arcade Fire, Bloc Party et al, our preoccupied ears ignored a fantastic new record. That album is Scribble Mural Comic Journal. I would apologise for the late review, but chances are that you’ve never heard of Philadelphia-based quartet A Sunny Day in Glasgow anyway. That’s set to change.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow do not play in the field of guitar-driven indie-rock, nor are they, as some reviewers stateside have suggested, part of the second-coming of shoegaze. Lazy comparisons to The Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine have been born out of a desperation to link this album with something more earthly, and unless I’ve missed out on a key moment in rock music’s trajectory, this album is an entirely original composition. This record doesn't make it clear in where they stand in the musical landscape – but it’s an album of great ingenuity, one that deconstructs the best parts of tried-and-tested genres and pastes them into one sonically-astounding collage.
Scribble Mural Comic Journal isn’t your typical nine-out-of-ten album on first glance. It’s a difficult listen in so much as the melodies are buried so deep within the fields of noise that it will take persistence to piece together all the hooks and motifs that underpin the record’s misty exterior. The album in its base form is a cerebral canvas of sound that immerses its listener in a colourful kaleidoscope of celestial female vocals and dance beats, intertwined with brooding electronics and heavily delayed guitar. Its persistent prettiness isn’t a subterfuge for poor songwriting, either. This album has a heart, a soul, a depth to it that’s intense yet ethereal, a potent craft that shines through the enclave of dark noise that permeates its length.
The pivotal moment in which the record secures its place as contender for the album of the week/month/year (delete as applicable) comes six tracks in. By that time you’ve established that the album is great, but as with many albums that promise greatness, they dip in quality on the refrain. Scribble Mural Comic Journal doesn’t follow that trend - ‘5:15 Train’ is A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s finest moment, utilising a swathe of sweeping electronic noise and echoed pop vocals. From then on the album tends to abide to more conventional stratagems, with ‘Things I Can Only See’ and ‘The Best Summer Ever’ both harnessing the pysch-rock sound that made the Deerhunter album successful earlier this year.
I could profess my love of this record even further, but then I’d be wasting your time which could be used to track it down. Is it a bona-fide classic? Will it make a significant contribution to music’s illustrious history? Forget the musical politics and let time be the judge of that. To these ears at this very moment, Scribble Mural Comic Journal is a near-perfect record.
Contender for album of the year? Most definitely.
9Ben Yates's Score