Ballboy

A Guide For the Daylight Hours

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After the splendid, catchall release Club Anthems, and a round of Peel Sessions, Edinburgh's Ballboy has at last issued a real live album. A Guide for the Daylight Hours is more mopey cynicism and boppy, trippy indie pop from b-boy mastermind Gordon McIntyre and friends; its enjoyable trundle is powered by the familiar twee clatter (here defined best by Katie Griffiths' warm organ tones) and a bottomless pint glass of shallow jibes and self-hating/loving witticisms. "Where Do the Nights of Sleep Go to When They Do Not Come to Me" and "You Can't Spend Your Whole Life Hanging Around With Arseholes" (the titles alone speak volumes about McIntyre's muse) kick up a racket of rattling guitars, peppy drums, and Giffiths' fabulous organ; coupled with the glowering vocal delivery, it's a sound that suggests anything from the Wedding Present and the Housemartins to contemporaries like the Lucksmiths. Of course, McIntyre has no need for the latter fellows' niceness. While its melody has an almost romantic sway, "I Wonder If You're Drunk Enough to Sleep With Me Tonight" cuts to the pragmatic, and horny quick-romantic trappings are only usable as props when the lights come up and it's time to leave. "A fear of failure won't hold me back from hoping someday you'll kiss me like you mean it", he deadpans, before shortening the line to its final, commanding phrase as an added selfish zinger. Ditties like these are undoubtedly very easy for Ballboy, but their cynical humor just makes the palpable heartbreak of "I Lost You, but I Found Country Music" ("Everyday I miss you/And wonder and guess what you are listening to") even more affecting. While much of Daylight's enjoyment is derived from the lyrics and their delivery, there are also plenty of tingly rock moments. "Nobody Really Knows Anything" has an undeniably shambling groove, while "Something's Going to Happen Soon"'s explosive guitar chorus is built around the fabulous line "And the cellos kick in". (Also, for whatever reason - both Scottish? - it's just one of album's numerous moments that recall Simple Minds). A Guide for the Daylight Hours isn't genius, but its uncouth, cute-swallowing crassness is brilliant. [The LP's U.S. version includes two bonus tracks: "All the Records on the Radio Are Shite" and "A Man's a Man for a' That".]

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:54 SpotifyAmazon
2 4:16 SpotifyAmazon
3 3:33 SpotifyAmazon
4 2:45 SpotifyAmazon
5 1:26 SpotifyAmazon
6 5:12 SpotifyAmazon
7 4:20 SpotifyAmazon
8 4:26 SpotifyAmazon
9 6:24 SpotifyAmazon
10 4:57 SpotifyAmazon
11 3:44
12 4:36
blue highlight denotes track pick