It is always a pleasure to see a band grow and evolve over the course of their career, while continuing to hold on to that core essence that made them interesting in the first place. This is the case with Sons And Daughters, a Scottish quartet that has consistently made quality albums. Their evolution has been gradual from Love The Cup to The Repulsion Box, but they have taken a huge step in a new direction with their latest. This Gift shows the band finally comfortable in showing their pop side, while still maintaining that cool edgy vibe that sent chills down our spins on their earlier tunes.
For fans of the band's past, you are eased in to their adjusted sound with the first single and album opener, "Gilt Complex." The familiar jabs of guitar of Scott Paterson and powerful vocals of Adele Bethel are totally still in full effect, which are partially what drew us to the band in the first place. It is when we get to "The Nest" that the changes begin. A part of the new sound was unquestionably inspired by producer (and former Suede guitarist) Bernard Butler, who helped add a new level of accessibility to their slightly less jagged sound.
If their goal is to attract a wider audience, "Darling" is going to be the song that could make it happen. This particular cut has a unique blend of '60s girl-group melodies with their normal jagged guitar riffs, which actually works quite well. The chorus is crammed with catchy harmonies while never sounding over produced or too glossy. It is the best of both worlds, showing that Sons And Daughters and Bernard Butler were a perfect match in the studio.
Most of the Americana twang has been pulled out of Sons And Daughters, but tracks like "House In My Head" will make old-school fans quite happy. Adele still has some angst and fury in her soul that needs to escape, which she bellows out on this one. This Gift is an interesting departure for the band, but fortunately it was an experiment that went very, very well. With their rough edges smoothed out just a bit, this band may have created their best album to date.