19 and Holy Once is the latest release from Glaswegian DIY rocker Angus Gibson, performing as The Lower Depths. This is 10 tracks of slow tempo rock odes to boredom and booze, delivered in the style of a spaced out rock star playing a late night set in a deserted bar.
Gibson presents his vocals with an affectation that brings to mind a young Leonard Cohen, or Lou Reed, with sort of a breathy, drunken carelessness that perfectly captures the misanthropic abandon of youth. Each track is a slow, grinding jam with plenty of driving bass, funeral parlor organ, and occasional reveb-laden electric guitar solos.
The opening track, (No One Knows) How to Talk to Girls, sets the pace for the rest of the record with its swaggering repetition of the title phrase. In the early 1980s, this song would have been the hit single. A 78 of greatest hits of The Lower Depths would, over a grainy picture of Angus Gibson in a darkened Glasgow doorway, scream in the boldest of Typography: HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS ... and other hits. The B-side to How to Talk to Girls is the second track, a ballad entitled Another Fallen Sparrow that conjures visions of long road trips for misguided reasons in less than roadworthy vehicles. On another noteworthy tune, we find Gibson's humorous distaste for Clean Living, with the memorable chorus of
This clean living is for you and not for me.
The Lower Depths seems to be a project bent on reviving vintage sounds, but Nineteen and Holy Once doesn't seem to live there. Instead, it occupies its own space and time that will most likely age well. Great for late night smoke festivals or staring into a whiskey after a breakup.