Glasgow’s up and coming DIY band gains traction
The Santa Clara
November 2, 2017
What does it mean to be in a guitar band in 2017? When pop, hip hop and electronic music dominate the charts, how do you compete? DIY (do it yourself ) indie-rockers Catholic Action answer with their own hard-hitting album of ready-made hits, “In Memory Of.” Catholic Action separates themselves from the pop mainstream through their DIY approach to music production.
DIY music is a part of a bigger movement associated with independent collaborators working outside the mainstream. In this case, that means avoiding major record labels and production companies.
The pursuit of artistic independence behind DIY is usually associated with punk culture and non-conformative behavior—a breakaway from popular culture. Some bands adhere to the DIY ethic due to moral issues with mainstream, capitalistic music labels. Others go this route simply because those labels view punk as a niche preference, and therefore not lucrative enough to produce. DIY artists often collaborate together for production or recording, but maintain a level of independence when doing so.
The goal is not to make money, play for big crowds or even to have reviews written about your music some 8,000 miles away.
Catholic Action has a different idea of what DIY can mean. Emerging from Glasgow’s flourishing DIY scene, the band is taking pop influences and working with independent labels and producers to maintain their original spirit while still appealing to a wider audience.
Since their formation in 2014, Catholic Action has released dozens of songs on a local cassette-only recording label. New Music Express (NME), a major United Kingdom music publication, even calls them, “one of Scotland’s most buzzed-about new bands.”
In typical Glasgow fashion, bleeding Fratellis-esque swagger, “In Memory Of” is a classic rock ‘n’ roll album driven by fast moving bass and screaming guitar. Listening to their music feels almost like stepping into a scene from the movie “Trainspotting”— a trip back to 1990s Scotland, influenced by Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.
The gentle synthesizers in the background call up the sounds of the growing club scene at that time as well. “In Memory Of” is unique as a DIY in that it maintains the performance of DIY ideology but utilizes aggressively poplike melodies, thus broadening the album’s potential audience.
The DIY punk influence on the album is a core component of not just the album’s aesthetic, but also the band as a whole.
McCrory sports shoulder length hair, and the rest of the band is clad in thriftshop variety style, often with black boots. A music video shot on a lower quality cassette video camera for “L.U.V.” completes the look.
The record begins with the song “L.U.V.,” a catchy, bass-driven song featuring McCrory’s impressive vocals. It’s the kind of raucous number that’ll get a crowd jumping, especially in the smaller clubs the band frequents on their tours.
“New Year” touts the most traditional pub rock vibes on the album. Opening with a steady beat and a catchy chorus and featuring a calland-response style, the song invites the audience to join in. It’s a song you can shout along to with simple lyrics and an unapologetically poppy chorus as McCrory turns his head to the microphone, swaying and singing.
“The Shallows,” in which McCrory laments the feelings of hopelessness he’s found in the suburbs and unfulfilling love, is the ballad of the album. Starting with just guitar and vocals, the song builds up to an explosive chorus with the whole band, including McCrory laying their hearts out.
The album is being toured exclusively in the U.K. for the time being.
Much of Catholic Action’s previous recordings with Scottish label, Fuzzkill, were released only on limited edition cassette tapes within Glasgow.
Now, as Catholic Action moves towards the mainstream, their music is available on SoundCloud, Spotify and Bandcamp.
Contact Ethan Beberness at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.