Here’s the main part of the review that was published in the North Devon Journal on Thursday 14th November. To read the whole article click HERE.
"…Take North Devon’s sandpaper-throated songster Scott Xander Linn for instance. His rootsy one-man rock’n’roll was exhilaratingly gritty, rousing and sinister. It still is when he performs solo. But these days you are more likely to see Linn flanked by drummer Toby Parker and bassist Nathan Layland – playing under the name Scott Xander Linn And The Broken Bottles.
The added beats and basslines give Linn’s Americana-inspired acoustic songs even more brawn. Nowhere is that more evident than on Some Nights, the standout track of SXL&TBB’s new Bad Things EP. It’s a morose number, richly endowed with an emotional sincerity and clarity of songwriting that is genuinely affecting.
Perhaps not the most natural starting point if you are a newcomer to SXL – but Some Nights is Linn’s strongest recorded material to date. And it feels the most natural.
The rest of this new EP is somewhat uncharacteristically upbeat. The lyrics rarely sound optimistic (and that’s not a criticism), never straying too far from recurrent themes of booze, broken hearts and bad behaviour.
But for all the darkness of the narrative, there are bright shards of optimism in the music. The acoustic guitar of Six Feet Under The Bar is chipper, with chirpy harmonica accompaniment. Her Best Dress rocks and rolls with gaiety – albeit wearied gaiety – driven by Parker’s bouncy drums. The euphoric organs of the title track, meanwhile, combine with a jaunty bassline to create a chorus that’s less funereal and more celebratory.
In short: the addition of bass and drums to Linn’s sound has levelled-up the grit and feistiness of his existing material. But more than anything it has added a coruscating brightness. And the antithesis with the often bleak lyrical content is pretty darn engaging. Judging by the fact that the first pressing of the Bad Things EP sold out in a matter of days, it seems a lot of people agree…”