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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 January 2008, 01:37 GMT
Sound of 2008: Glasvegas
Mixing vintage rock and pop with moody guitars, Glasvegas have come fourth in the BBC's Sound of 2008 poll to find the brightest musical talent.

One act from the top five is being revealed every day this week, counting down to Friday, when the number one and full top 10 will be published.


Fifteen years ago, indie mogul Alan McGee was blown away by a band who were playing third on the bill at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow.

They were called Oasis, and the rest is history.

Now McGee cannot stop raving about another band he saw playing in the same slot at the same venue in 2006.

They are Glasvegas, and McGee has declared them to be the best Scottish band for 20 years.

Music weekly NME has just ranked their song Daddy's Gone as the second best track of 2007, hailing it as the most exciting debut single since the Arctic Monkeys arrived.

The group have even got the seal of approval from Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of their number one musical hero.

Glasvegas draw on rockabilly and pop from the 1950s and '60s, using a backdrop of brooding guitars to create their own wall of sound, a bit like the Jesus and Mary Chain playing the Grease soundtrack.

The sound I get with the guitars is to make it sound like an orchestra
James Allan
Singer James Allan says the group started by taking their lead from classic doo-wop groups.

"It's a minimalist approach to the rhythm, it's really simple, but that simplicity leaves a lot of room for other things," he says.

"And the other things... I really like a lot of orchestral music and classical music. I think that can be a good furious backdrop to something.

"A lot of the sound that I get with the guitars is to make it sound like an orchestra. But we've only got the bass, my guitar and his guitar."

Glasvegas are currently fielding offers from many record labels
His bandmates are his cousin Rab Allan on guitar, bassist Paul Donoguhe and drummer Caroline McKay.

Daddy's Gone, a heartbreaking message to an absent father, has given the first glimpse of the emotional power of James' songwriting.

The lyrics begin: "How you are my hero/ How you're never here though/ Remember times when you put me on your shoulders/ How I wish that it was forever you would hold us."

They carry on in the same heart-rending vein. When the song is brought up, James immediately interjects: "I knew you were going to ask that.

"So Daddy's Gone, is that through personal experience? That's what you were going to ask, yeah?"

Well, yes.

"Yeah, some of it's through personal experience. And there's other stuff that I've just noticed through my friends' families. I don't really know a lot of families where the mum and dad are still together."

The band have supported Dirty Pretty Things and Ian Brown
The point of the song, James says, is not wanting to be 50 and "having to regret everything".

Daddy's Gone was put on MySpace and soon made its way to a friend of Lisa Marie Presley.

Elvis's daughter liked it so much that she called the band up and asked them to meet her for a drink when she was in Edinburgh recently.

"It was a really nice night," James says.

"It's quite far out. It makes the world feel a bit smaller than it is because she's heard something that I've recorded in my bedroom, and how the hell did that get to Lisa Marie Presley?"

So what did she say?

"I'll not go into exactly what was spoke about," James says. "But it was pretty far out man. It was nothing to do with music."

Despite having so many fans in high places, Glasvegas are still unsigned. But that situation is unlikely to last long. Which labels are trying to secure their signatures?

"Every label I've ever heard of," James replies. "Does that answer that?"

  • Almost 150 UK-based music writers, editors and broadcasters took part in the Sound of 2008 poll. They named their three favourite new acts and their responses were used to compile a top 10.

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