‘My Past is a Quiet Beast’ is the debut album from young Edinburgh based singer-songwriter, Mt. Doubt, a.k.a Leo Bargery. A wholly interesting debut, it follows singles ‘Feathers’ and ‘Slump’ and was produced by Mark Morrow of Edinburgh’s own, The Winter Tradition. ‘My Past is a Quiet Beast’ is a moody, introspective work that combines its often morose lyrics with a big sound, it’s stock full of build ups and hammering guitars but there’s also times where the songs are stripped back to their bare bones, combining Bargery’s excellent lyric writing abilities with stark sounds.
Album opener ‘Asunder’ starts off on soft xylophone notes before developing into a moody, introspective ballad. “You’re like home on the horizon when I’ve been away…” Bargery croons alongside building, rising drums before the track delves into a near classic rock guitar solo. It’s a busy opener but portrays the talents of this young musician nicely. ‘Bend Sinister’ has an intro full of poppy guitars, with perhaps a bit of a hometown influence as comparisons to Leith’s most famous twins The Proclaimers are unavoidable. Then suddenly the track takes a dive into deconstructed chords and drums with Mt. Doubt waxing lyrical comparing his love to a postcard from Guernica. Lyrically Bargery is ambitious and bold, efforts that make for songs that hold complex messages hidden amongst fascinating lyrics. At times there’s a sense of struggle to fit lyrics to music, however such incidents are few and far between and for the most part its admirable to see a young singer-songwriter pushing boundaries amongst a genre that is so filled with stereotypical lyrical musings. No where is this more evident than ‘Telmessos’ a track named after an ancient Turkish city, it’s dark and full of escapism with weaved vocal hooks creating an ethereal atmosphere which is starkly juxtaposed with empty harsh drums. It’s arguably Mt. Doubt at his best, showcasing an original and fascinating sound. Then there’s ‘Soft Wrists’ a ballad that wouldn’t be amiss from an early Arcade Fire album, its eerily anthemic, sure to be a highlight of Mt. Doubt’s live shows. The album’s standout is undoubtedly ‘Echo Chambers’, with its plethora of guitar sounds layered its Morrow’s production at its best and exemplifies a bond between producer and artist rarely seen on this scale.
Ultimately ‘My Past Is A Quiet Beast’ is an impressive debut album which shows a great deal of promise and talent from a rising Scottish artist. Bargery manages to blend sounds and influences to create a sound that is uniquely his, with his layered vocals and complex lyrical musings. For a city that pales in comparison with the musical output of its industrial neighbour, Glasgow, it’s both refreshing end exciting to see a wave of young talent coming from the streets of Edinburgh, a wave of talent that Mt. Doubt undoubtedly belongs to. If his past is a quiet beast, Bargery’s future is a roaring lion with the potential to rock the Scottish indie scene and carve out a successful career.
Words: Charlie Jaco