I first heard of Pete MacLeod via a billboard advertising his new album Rolling Stone. It was September last year at The Barrowland and although I was caught in a crowd rushing to the venue, I made a mental note to check him out on Twitter. Over the following weeks I started to notice his name more and more on social media sites and when I heard he was supporting Shed Seven at their Barrowland date I finally got a copy of his album to hear what all the fuss was about.
From the outset Rolling Stone is very much my cup of tea. ‘Let It Shine’ kicks the album into bright, vibrant life with a nod to John Lennon’s ‘Instant Karma’ through title and lyrical content. It’s a top opener for the album and sets off the debut brilliantly. There’s a lot of influence to be heard throughout the album – The Beatles, R.E.M, a bit of Paul Weller and the uplifting vibe of what eventually became known as Britpop. At the same time from beginning to end, the album has a very distinct sound all of his own to it.
The album is full of toe-tapping acoustic tracks that any fan of the genre will adore. Title track ‘Rolling Stone’ is a lesson on how to write an excellent pop song with a hook you’ll be whistling for days after, and early-90’s influenced ‘Give A Little Love’ has a similar sing-a-long vibe written all over it.
As well as the overall bright aspect to the sound there’s also a moody side as shown on ‘Hold Me Now’ and ‘On the Other Side Part 1’ on which Pete shows off his artful knowledge of minor chords to great effect. These tracks trigger a noticeable change in tone toward the second half of the album with a darker, moodier feel to them.
‘Panic’ was a stand-out track on the album for me for the atmospheric vocal echo over the top and a Lennon-esque delivery. It shows too that the simplest things can be massively effective when done properly. Keeping with the moodier feel of the second half of the album ‘Re: Ality’ is a smooth finger-picked affair with a great chorus that sets up album closer ‘Today I Went Swimming’ nicely. This last track brings back the brighter sound of the early part of the album with a retrospective lyric; “You can’t hold what is not in your hands, we can’t teach what you don’t understand…” to close things off.