The Mind Sweepers
German Shepherd Records
15th April 2016
The Mind Sweepers were formed in 2014 and consist of Paul Winter, vocals/acoustic guitar, John McInally, lead guitar, Jack Trainer, bass guitar/harmonica, Gareth MacIntyre, keyboards/backing vocals, and Bryn Thorburn, drums.
All of their material is original, and they have enjoyed relative success with regard to securing gigs in their local area of South West Scotland, and farther afield with gigs in both Manchester and Glasgow. Any fees secured from playing live usually go into paying for studio time and they are slowly getting their first studio album recorded.
Their songs are drawn from life, usually affairs of the heart, and observations on contemporary life. The lyrical content of the songs aren’t PC, and they are adult in their subject matter and language, as Paul Winter says “you can only write about what you know after all”.
Line-up changes have held things up for a while for the band. The current set-up, the third version, which Paul hopes is gonna stay together, have been rehearsing since late 2015. Winter says enthusiastically “We’ve got a good dynamic going though, it’s good fun!”. Band members have mostly done provincial gigs in a variety of different groups, but only drummer Bryn has played big venues. He was in Spacehopper and Gram Solo, indie acts, playing “T in the Park” twice.
The band work-ethic begins with Winter presenting a song. He says “We all then break it down and suss how tae play it, technically. Everybody in this band plays, everybody leaves their mark on the song, every song is a sum of every member of the band”.
The first release from the band features two strong statements of future intent. Winters’ rich vocals, sung in a local dialect, are observational, adult and poignant. The band mix of rock and folk is reminiscent of the work of Rab Noakes, Lindisfarne and others of that ilk. Tales of urban life and relationships are weaved into well written tunes. The title track describes weekend courting rituals on any local high street with vivid images of bouncers, too much “yank beer” and post pub violence. The second track “Away We Yi Wumman”, describes an almost feral female stalker, and is underpinned by a great bluesy guitar line. Winters use of local dialect comes to the fore here with unique and memorable language. A third tune, an alternative acoustic version of the second song, with former guitarist Andrew McCulloch on lead acoustic and Michelle Jackson McClure on fiddle, makes for a varied and fascinating collection.
As for the future an album is gradually getting put together. Winter explains “….. it’s all dependent on how much we’ve got in the kitty. We like to play wide and far, so the studio kitty usually gets usurped by petrol money tae play in Glasgow/Manchester”.
A band to watch out for, they play The Bar Stage, Knockengorroch Festival, Carsphairn, South West Scotland on 26th May and on 10th June Rabbies Tavern at the Eden Festival.