One of the most promising new(ish) bands in Glasgow

Wake the President are one of the most promising new(ish) bands in Glasgow, channeling the finest of the city’s last 30 years in music (you know the references; Orange Juice, Postcard). The Sandberg twins have been cutting an elegant dash around the West End of Glasgow for a couple of years now, but I think the secret may very soon be out.

King Tut’s is rammed to hear them showcase their new (and second) album Zumutung, with a cross section of folk from the expected indie hipster types to people who look old enough to have seen Orange Juice the first time round.

Wake the President at the core are Bjorn and Erik Sandberg, a pair of elegant Swedish/Scottish twins, who with their laconic manner, louche ways and literate lyrics are the antithesis of Jedward.

With their guitars held unusually high on their chests, they certainly look the part, even if Erik is slightly dressed down tonight, in a T-shirt. acked up by a jazz drummer called Dave and a cute indie chick on keyboard, they make for a beguiling proposition live.

Erik is quieter, and sports a bandage on his head, while Bjorn engaes with the crowd, dedicating “Last Exit to the Lost” to Nice n’ Sleazy’s an iconic Glasgow bar which is something of an alcoholic hipster’s knocking shop. (In fact it’s about one of Erik’s friends stealing his wallet for drugs).

Bjorn’s intricate, chiming guitar lines weaver around Erik’s lyrics of love and loss with the something of the panache of the brothers’ beloved Foster and McLennan of Gobetweens fame, nowhere more so than on songs like “This is New”.

The new songs are as lyrically acerbic and literately disenchanted as ever, itheb ironically titled “Youth There is Pleasure” anatomising “corpses round flats”, or lyrics like
“Let’s end the affair like Graham Green” sporting the literary references on their twed sleeves.

“E.T.” opens with something resembling melodic heavy breathing, then builds into a rather intense melody that I suspect has nothing to with the loveable extraterrestrial.
While the crowd may not be familiar with the new material, they go for it in a big way, with much love for “Miss Tierney”, which is recreated from the first album, sha na nas intact.
With a lot of the Glasgow indie scene settling down into more sedate lifestyles, the time could be ripe for Wake the President. They’re still young, still living the life, and their dispatches from the front line of Scottish Bohemianism have more authenticity than other Scottish bands. On this showing, they can hold their heads as high as their guitars.

Words by Brian Beadie
Photo Credit: Anita Russo

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