Live albums are usually targeted at existing fans of a band or artist, its a memento of a certain tour or time and a chance to hear a different version of the ones you loved on the recorded albums. The fact that the band here is a relatively obscure 90’s band from Scotland, will mean the album will be pushed towards fans in the hope that a few people, new to the party, will hear enough good stuff to convince them to download the back catalogue.
Now, I will admit, I had never heard of Goodbye Mr MacKenzie, but I was intrigued to hear something by a band who had released nine albums, toured extensively and started the career of another 90’s Scottish export in Garbage’s Shirley Manson.
So, is it any good? Will I now be rushing to my keyboard for playlists and downloads? Well, no.
I’m going to reiterate the truth that I am not the target audience here, I have no doubt that this album will be purchased by all die-hard fans of the band but, for me, it all sounds a little dreary and the production is muddy and just a few levels above a bootleg gig recording.
This all sounds very harsh I know, but I reckon if you’re a fan of the band what I have to say will make little difference, but the music seems to be lacking in energy and there is a gap where something should be in the higher register. The drums and the bass sit very low and the effect-filled guitar doesn’t manage to pull the sound out. Add that to the bass-heavy vocals and the whole sound seems quite muddy. This might be due to the recording itself of course but I think it’s more of the sound of the band.
Aside from ‘The Rattler’, ‘Goodbye Mr MacKenzie’ – which gives Marie Claire Lee something more to do with backing vocals – and ‘Green Turns Red’ – which does have that full sound by giving the guitar a pulsing lick – are standouts. If the album was a four or five-track EP, I would be looking into their music more but its not for me, nor was it intended for me, like I’ve said, this is an album for the die-hards, fans of the journey and a celebration of a back catalogue from a band that seemed to do their business out of the mainstream.