Reindeer Section Son Of Evil Reindeer

On the surface, it seems like a dream. A super-group with a line-up that reads like a who's who of Scottish pop - Belle And Sebastian, Mogwai, Arab Strap, Idlewild and the Vaselines. But look a little closer and things aren't quite as dreamlike as you thought, because the Reindeer Section is very much the project of Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, one of Jeepster's lesser bands, and apart from Arab Strap's Aidan Moffat, nobody else was involved in the songwriting. That's the bad news, but the good news is that Lightbody has kept his best work for the Reindeer Section, because their second album, Son Of Evil Reindeer, is a remarkably solid and cohesive piece of work. For the most part, it doesn't sound a whole lot different from Snow Patrol, following a similarly gentle pathway with the requisite amount of jangly guitars to keep fans of the other bands involved happy. One of the record's strongest points, however, is the ever-changing vocal, which rotates from Lee Gorton (Alfie) through Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), stopping off at several other points in-between, keeping things fresh. But it is Lightbody's Nick Drake-like voice that dominates the proceedings, making this very much his record. And that's only fitting, considering that it is his guidance that has orchestrated this impressive achievement. (Bright Star)