On the face of it Tidelines, a young Scottish quartet, is just another pop-rock band. Yet, this lazy description does them a great disservice. They offer much more than a new rehash of the well-known Celtic Rock genre. Admittedly, they stick with the familiar mix of big guitars, piano and strong Scottish vocals, throwing in an occasional punchy bagpipe. Some reviewers think Tidelines are producing an outdated format. The Telegraph reviewer is clearly troubled by this but recognises “belligerent adherence” is part of the appeal.
For sure, Tidelines are not a typical photo-shopped boy band. Their own website makes them look exceptionally unfashionable. That is their appeal. They look like four guys, who met in the pub. Then discovered by accident they can sing and play an instrument. Perhaps, I am biased in extolling their virtues. Lead singer, Robert Robertson, is a local lad from Fort Willam. Robertson sang in a local Gaelic choir. I’ve watched him sing with great skill at the festival of all things Gaelic, the National Mod. You always have a soft spot for someone whose career you’ve watched from close quarters.
However, I am most drawn to the clear influence of their West Scotland roots. Whether they came from the heart of West End Glasgow or the wider Highlands and Islands, you sense the love these lads have for their culture.
No stormy weather to endure on this album
Tidelines newly released album, Eye of the Storm, entered the official album charts at number 3. Pretty good for a self-released album and indicative of the growing base of fans in the know. Robertson hooked me as soon as he cut in with his haunting vocal of “Born in the eye of the storm” in the first track. Tidelines are clearly influenced by traditional Scottish folk music when you hear the sweet piano at the beginning of ‘Stangers’. It is clear again as a gentle and lyrical guitar accompanies Robertson’s vocal to the ‘Wreck of a Ship’.
The punchy reworking of the traditional Gaelic song, ‘Canan Nan Gaidheal’ dismisses any doubts about Tidelines’ Celtic roots. Each chorus urges, ‘come along and join us in the west so that we will hear the language of the Gael’ with even greater force. The bonus instrumental final track catches you by surprise. I was confused, thinking where is this going now. And suddenly, pow! A bit of Red Hot Chilli Pipers like bagpipe hits you and carries you on to the final note.