So far this year my favourite album has been PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake, but it now has a contender for that title in the shape of Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat’s collaboration Everything’s Getting Older. Moffat, that boy with the Arab Strap, I’m sure most of you know about, but Wells is Scottish music’s go to guy if you want some atmospheric jazz behind your lyrics.
I first discovered his work when I bought a copy of The Bill Well’s Trio’s 2003 album Also In White, one of the most atmospheric records I own and one I continue to play to this day. Doing a bit of a background check I found out about his collaboration with Future Pilot AKA in 1999. Since then he has worked with The Gentle Waves, Arab Strap, Telstar Ponies, Kama Aina, Isobel Campbell, Duglas T. Stewart and The Pastels (most notably on the tremendous soundtrack to the David Mackenzie film The Last Great Wilderness where he also appears as part of the house band). His presence on an album is a reliable sign that the music is going to be rather fine. Never has this been more evident than on Everything’s Getting Older. Here’s the video for the first single (If You) Keep Me In Your Heart:
Aidan Moffat benefits greatly from having Wells’ music behind him. His dolorous vocal style is suited perfectly to the loose groove Wells provides. Much of Moffat’s recent work, particularly I Can Hear Your Heart and How to Get to Heaven from Scotland, is reminiscent of early to mid period Tom Waits and I didn’t think I’d ever write that. Imagine Moffat singing The Piano Has Been Drinking or Burma Shave, or Waits covering The Last Kiss or City of Love and you’ll hopefully understand the comparison. At the moment this is my favourite track on Everything’s Getting Older, and perfectly shows how well Wells and Moffat work together. This is The Copper Top:
Moffat’s major talent is as a storyteller (read his story The Donaldson Boy in last year’s The Year of Open Doors short story collection as proof). This collaboration shows those stories off to full effect. He has said that he’s now going to work with other people. That’s fine, but, on the evidence of Everything’s Getting Older, I hope he returns to Bill Wells a few times more.
As a wee bonus track here’s The Bill Wells Trio with D.A.D.E to relax one and all: