THE PROCLAIMERS Whitehall Theatre, Dundee, Sat 9; The Garage. Glasgow. Thu 14; Liquid Room, Edinburgh. Fri 15 Jun.

It’s been seven years since the last album by The Proclaimers. Few groups would dare to take that amount of time between records, but few have the quality control of Craig and Charlie Reid. Everyone knows by now that you can breeze into your local megastore and confidently plonk your cash down for a Proclaimers album without having to hear a single track beforehand. Especially the new one, Persevere, which, in Craig Reid’s view, is ‘song for song, definitely the strongest’.

The duo’s fourth album, is the first on their own label and the second to be given its title by the port of Leith, where they were born. Persevere comes from the motto on Leith’s coat of arms, and the band’s manager, Kenny MacDonald, is the man responsible for it finding its way on to a Proclaimers sleeve.

‘We were actually looking for a name for the record company and he suggested that, and as soon as he said it we said, “Aye, and for the album as well."’ Craig thinks it’s a title that’s particularly suited to this album after the last few years in their lives, during which they had growing families to deal with, as well as the deaths of their father and Charlie’s wife’s mother. There were also stories of writers’ block.

‘Charlie had it, I didn’t,’ Craig corrects. ‘But I would never say that it was writers’ block, because I was always coming up with ideas for tunes. You’ve got to keep turning out stuff, even if it doesn’t get used. If you get out of the habit of completing songs, it’s hard to get back into it.’

Worth it in the end, though, as the recording sessions in Minneapolis brought forth such luminaries as Rolling Stones keyboard player Chuck Leavell, Bonnie Raitt’s bassist Hutch Hutchison, kd lang’s pedal-steel player Greg Leisz and, on drums, Elvis Costello veteran Pete Thomas. Racking up a completed song every day of the fortnight-long session, they seem to have had a ball, judging by the testimonials from the musicians on The Proclaimers’ website. ‘They were definitely the best recording sessions I’ve ever been in,’ says Craig.

So have the brothers found that the days when people couldn’t see beyond their accents, their glasses and their twinhood are behind them, and that they’re treated by the world at large as the ferocious songwriting and performing talents they are? Sadly, no.

‘I think, with the majority, it’s still Scottish speccy guys, and I think that’s just the way it’ll always be. Down the years, you get a bit of respect for what you do, but, um, the majority, no. And it doesn’t really bother me. We have a very strong image, and that helps people remember you. Even if you’re away for as long as we are, folk still do remember.’ (Alastair Mabbott)

The boys are back in town


King Tut's, Glasgow, Fri 8 Jun.

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Bar Brel. Glasgow. Sat 16 Jun: Henry's Jazz Bar. Edinburgh. Sun 17 Jun.

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r.’ THE LIST 51