Guest Nunlog: Graham Reid – Robert Scott: Ends Run Together

March 22, 2011

Robert Scott. Photo: Gerard O'Brien

Years ago when I was a music writer/journalist at the Herald I interviewed Robert Scott of The Bats and The Clean. I don’t remember all the details but it must have been about how he was juggling two jobs as it were, however he was still committed to The Bats for a long time to come.

My final resonating line was – complete with an embarrassing spelling mistake – “Robert Scott, the once and future Brat”.

I don’t know if her ever saw that (I hoped not, I’ve never forgotten it) but if he did he seems to have forgiven me: recently he befriended me on Facebook. But that might also have been because last year at my website I included his solo album Ends Run Together as one of my Best of Elsewhere 2010 albums.

Ends Run Together is an exceptional album on which he gets some assistance from the Clean’s guitarist David Kilgour and others, but is very much a subtle showcase for his elegant songwriting which roams easily from deft ballads (Messages with its strangely earthy piano sound and astral guitars) through mid-paced, folk-influenced alt.rock (On the Lake), songs which implode the best elements of the Bats and Clean (Too Early with Kilgour) and the softly psychedelic journey of Daylight.

Robert ScottToo Early

There are eerily beautiful songs here (the dreamy Days Run Together and Carmilla), songs which should be radio hits in a better world (The Moon Upstairs), Born in a Tent with its string section, and even gentle folk (Greenwood Tree, Some Other Time with the keening sound of bowed saw).

This may seem like considerable diversity, but this is also a collection which is beautifully programmed to give it coherence.

And as one who was there for those great Flying Nun records on which Robert Scott played – the classic Clean and Bats albums throughout the 80s – I’m delighted that in this world of downloads and iPods with their narrow sound, that Ends Run Together – produced by Dale Cotton – is now out on warm sounding vinyl, as it deserves to be.

A great album just got better – and physically bigger.

– Graham Reid is New Zealand based journalist and writer – Elsewhere