Friday, 3 May 2013

Desert Isalnd Discs 11 Kelvingrove Baby by the Bathers

11 Kelvingrove baby by The Bathers 1997

Nearly the top 10 so time to pause for a bit of wild European romanticism , well west of Scotland romanticism anyway. The other splinter group from Friends Again , for this lp Chris Thomson turned down the Scottish Tom Waits and turned up the melodic hooks.

The title track has it all , the epic dramatic hymn to love kind of sums up what The Bathers were all about.

Rather annoyingly I've found a clip of them playing live on you tube but can't seem to embed it on this post so you'll just have to follow the link here  (it is worth it to check out the very fashionable member of the audience just behind the presenter)..

The lp (like all their lps ) is about the mysteries of love. You get the feeling that Chris Thomson is a bit of a boy. Every song is about either being in love , losing love , unrequited love, falling in love , all told with romantic poet's voice and a sweeping orchestral backing.

Three chord rock and roll it certainly isn't.

You somehow just knew that all these songs involved girls as stunning as the one on the cover.

The lp starts with the band at it's most understated.

If you find her
Let her know
Just tell her I'm sorry
That she had to go
Just remind her that I'm still here
On the west coast waiting
I'll wear the rain like tears

Thrive - The Bathers

Elsewhere No Risk no Glory is as close to a giddy single as the Bathers get, helped out by old sparing partner from Friends Again James Grant on backing vocals

No Risk No Glory - The Bathers

The whole lp is music to swoon to and surely a much better candlelit backing than 100 Simply Red efforts

If Love could Last forever is the first dance at many a wedding in some alternative universe where jangly Scottish bands rule the charts

If Love Could  Last Forever the Bathers

Want you every sunrise
Everywhere you've been
Always Walk beside you
Haunt Your Every Dream

There is a bit of Van Morrison in the vocals and at times Wild is the Wind Bowie, it is a shame that the Bathers only managed a miniscule percentage of their sales

The 2 other highlights for me are the more groove based Dial  ( a bit of Scottish soul) and the Girl from the Polders, who you just knew had to the kind of girl that was unknown to any European exchange programme our 6th form had.

A sure fire cure for anyone who thinks romance is dead

You can buy a second hand version of the lp here


  1. I saw The Bathers at The Mean Fiddler in the early 90s, a great gig.
    Then, at the end of the decade Di and I were waiting in line outside the The Screen on Baker St when Chris Thompson approached us to ask where The Cashmere Club was. It was just around the corner; we led him there and stayed in that tiny venue to watch just Thompson and a female drummer perform and odd set; clattering drums and gentle guitars with swoonsome singing. Odd, but it worked out fine. Maybe that's where Roddy got the idea from for Western Skies...

  2. May not like this quite as much as you, but I really goofed up not having this on my list somewhere. It's really good. No Risk No Glory should've been a hit record...


  3. A gorgeous album. The most accessible from his output.Just the right amount of 'pop'.Although as time slips by it's looking less and less likely that there'll be another Bathers album Chris was onstage just last night at Paisley Abbey swooning a sellout crowd with Bathers tunes ( along with James Grant and Graeme Skinner).
    # 11 Trashcan Sinatras - Weightlifting
    After all the troubles the band had after 'A Happy Pocket' it was amazing that they came back at all ,even though it took 8 years. During this time they wrote a bucket load of songs and the cream of those ended up as 'Weightlifting'.Not only their strongest set of songs but they finally got the production right!
    My favourite 'All the dark horses'

  4. Thumbs way up Phil! Thought you'd go with a early one, but I think they're getting even better with age. Into The Music almost equally as good...

  5. Weightlifting is a fine thing Phil.
    Another trip to the attic...
    Do not have Into the Music
    Another trip to Amazon...

    1. Hope I've caught you before you've been to Amazon. If you buy 'In the music' you must go for the limited edition release as the two bonus tracks are excellent, quite possibly the two best tracks on the album.. I paid just under 30 pounds for it but you can get it at a much more reasonable price here
      Go on you know you want to.....

    2. Thanks for that Phil.
      Listening to 'Weightlifting' and wanting some new sounds...

  6. I've been very predictable with the trashcan sinatras . Love their latest 2 - favourite form weightlifting is the rather sinister (child murder?" trouble sleeping

    that line up from last night would have been worth seeing!

  7. This is certainly one of my favourite albums of all time as it is consistently amazing all the way through - everything about this release, the packaging, the label, the image all seem to fit and they are one act who just seem to drip elegance and style. "No Risk No Glory", "Kelvingrove Baby" and "If Love Could Last Forever" are my faves. They re-recorded the latter for the following album but somehow it was missing something. Sadly here in Canada very few people have ever heard of The Bathers - their loss I guess.

    The Trash Can Sinatras would be up there at the top also if I ever did a list and Weightlifting is perfect from start to finish - how do they do it?

  8. I took a friend to see the Bathers at Cottier Theatre in the mid to late 90s, having loved them since their first album & Chris Thompson's voice from previous bands.
    I knew the classically-trained violinist a little through work & she had met him briefly in a different context (& understandably quite fancied him).
    Quote from friend as he finished a beautiful solo:
    "I have GOT to meet him again. Anyone that can make that noise with his fingers has got to be great in bed."

  9. God, dear.
    ...and saving souls.
    Thats if you wanna be.
    Free will.
    I can only be the catalyst
    just like a 17-year-old girl
    was the catalyst for my growth.

    Wanna know the Answer??

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