A couple of Fridays ago I went to see King Creosote do an instore performance at Avalanche Records on Cockburn Street, Edinburgh. Given his recent higher profile due to major label backing for album KC Rules OK, you might think he’d be above this kind of thing, but he remains resolutely down to earth, wandering into the shop like the average punter. He then starts setting up his own equipment, with the help of a beer can wielding Pictish Trail (who unfortunately doesn’t help out with musical accompaniment).
We wait a while for things to kick off but luckily we can browse the CDs while we’re waiting. When he starts he admits he “feels a bit silly doing this kind of thing”- it’s the third instore he’s done to promote the recent re-release of the aforementioned album. He also says he’s a bit sick of that album and the accompanying promotion. For a man who started out releasing CD-R’s whenever and as often as he wanted through his own label, it isn’t surprising that he would find the pace of the major label release schedule a bit slow.
Accompanied only by an electro-acoustic borrowed from fellow Fencer HMS Ginafore, He opens with “Not One Bit Ashamed” and of course it’s great, due to his heartfelt vocals (and of course, songwriting skill). It has to be said, the man does an astoundingly good falsetto and while the effort he puts in to get it is obvious from his facial grimaces, no strain is evident in the sound of his voice which remains perfectly pitched. He does a few more off the album but then goes off on a tangent to please himself and “remain sane”, playing a very nice HMS Ginafore song as payment for borrowing the guitar, and (without irony) a cover of the Prince penned ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ that’s almost as heartbreaking as Sinead O Connor’s version. He then expresses concern that his parking ticket is about to run out before finishing on new single 678, a better version than on the re-released album that uses his falsetto to the max
“at the back of my mind, I was always hoping that I might just get by”
I bought the album, for the price of ten pounds, out of which KC says he will only get 65p and will therefore need to sell 30 copies to cover his parking ticket if he has been caught out. He seems disillusioned already with the major label process, and despite uniformly good press it seems the album hadn’t sold what he’d hoped. A week later though the re-release seemed to have worked wonders as it rose 25 places in the BBC 6 music chart.
He had spoken earlier about duff records in his collection including Mansun’s Attack of the Grey Lantern and of course, the third Oasis album. I asked him to sign my CD and asked him if amongst those duff records he had any by a band called Swivel Chair. “Yes- but I really liked that!” he told me. “Was that you?” “Well, I contributed” I told him, humbly, and with that he signed the CD as shown above.
Not One Bit Ashamed review:
“I gave up half my heart and you gave a half-hearted shrug” is such a
perfect line it sends shivers down your spine, as King Creosote
regretfully berates a former lover (and himself for putting up with
their whims) with a mournful “it’s not good enough.” With the help of
some understated horns from backing band The Earlies, the track builds
up to a joyous ‘Dry The Rain’ style crescendo, although the radio edit
doesn’t do this justice by cutting it short. Like Do You Realize by the
Flaming Lips, in a just universe this would be number one for weeks.