The Making of You by SnowgooseRelease date: June 26, 2020
Label: Glass Modern Records
Snowgoose is a Scottish folk rock band with a mere two albums to their name. But given the assured sophistication of this group, you’d think they’d been around for decades. Combining modern production with a vintage sound (think Fairport Convention or Pentangle) and with the assistance of Scottish pop luminaries such as members of Belle and Sebastian, The Pearlfishers, and Teenage Fanclub, guitarist Jim McCulloch (Soup Dragons, BMX Bandits) and vocalist Anna Sheard have created a marvelous sonic confection.
You can hear strains of West Coast psych and late 60s British folk, but they’ve pulled off quite the feat as they have surpassed these influences on this record. On their first record, 2012’s pretty Harmony Spring, Jim came to the table with fully formed songs, whereas for this outing, Anna came forward as a songwriter, and the end result is this intoxicating, cheerful record that celebrates their successful collaboration. There are warm washes of psych-infused keyboards meshing with the gently strummed guitars and Anna’s dulcet voice, and I can’t help but smile as I listen through it. In these tough times, music like this lifts us all up.
The album starts with Anna’s crystalline voice on ‘Everything’, and the superb melodic backdrop is reassuring and catchy. You may find yourself singing along with Anna as the song unwinds. ‘Who Will You Choose?’ is another lovely tune, oft reminding me of late 60s pop with its toe tapping back-beat. And oh, that chorus, is truly a beautiful thing to hear. Wonderful! The song ‘Hope’ is another classic song, I just love it. Anna has one of those timeless voices that you can never get enough of. The harmonies on this one are brilliant.
‘The Making Of You’ is a song that sounds positively ancient, with a theme that transcends time. It is a hook-worthy love fest that followers of Sandy Denny will adore. ‘Counting Time’ offers up yet another enchanting earworm, one of the highlights of this song suite. I am reminded somewhat of Richard and Linda in their lighter moments. It is more about an emotional feel than a sound with me. ‘Goldenwing’ is passionate, swooning pastoral pop, while the solemn ‘Leonard’ is pensive and somewhat melancholy.
‘Deserted Forest’ has a pervasive sadness that references a loss of natural resources and the rather sad state of our planet and the damage humans have done to it. ‘The Optimist’ mines that late 60s West Coast pop and sounds better than most notable bands from that era. The album wraps up with ‘You Gave Up Without a Sound’, and the spirit of Sandy Denny rides along with us as this pretty song streams through us. The entire album is a tribute to great folk rock from all eras, but it easily stands on its own as a remarkable piece of work. Kudos to this talented group of musicians, and may we get to enjoy them for many years to come.