When the Scotpop 4-piece Life With Nixon signed off for good in August of 1998 at Sleazy’s in Glasgow, it seemed like the end of something special. Time had run out on Britpop – too many bands, not enough ideas. Getting less young and less stupid, time had also run out on the Nixon’s own brand of ‘sloppy energy’. They did a lot in 5 years, squeezed a lot of goodwill out of two EPs and a million shows, but even the best bands split up eventually – it happens.
But things don’t always stay where they’re put. A full 17 years later, Ali and Kenny Mathieson, Billy Nisbet and David Mack, all four Nixons from that night at Sleazy’s, released “Sunny Day Machine”, the wonderful debut album by St Christopher Medal on Stereogram Recordings. Along with newbie Andy Jeffries on piano (Ali’s roommate from university in the late ’80’s!), St Christopher Medal make music that is full to the brim with 17 years of life, love, kids, jobs and the whole history of rock n roll. Ali, who writes the songs and sings them, teaches in a high school in rural Perthshire – Kenny, his brother and ace guitarist, spins vinyl at The Dead Rabbit in Upper Manhattan where he lives. Billy, David and Andy play bass, drums and piano in Perth, Teeside and Dorset respectively. Makes practicing difficult. Gigs are rare and valuable things. You’ve got to really want to be in a band like St Christopher Medal!
But “Sunny Day Machine” is a record that none of them could have made in their 20’s. It’s energy comes from long friendship. From deep love of Music, from C86 to the classic Country Rock of The Stones and the Flying Burrito Brothers. None of it dimmed for even a moment. Teenage Fanclub. The Hold Steady. Dylan. The songs are denser, more complete. They’re about life – growing up, surviving over time, dreams, children – and they’re sad and funny. The record was made in six days of being together (years of gigging paying off in deeply unexpected ways) followed by two years of head-scratching. It is the sound of a band who can’t stop being a band, even when being in a band makes no practical sense.
Sometimes the best things in life make no sense at all. “Sunny Day Machine” is a statement of intent. After 24 years of playing together, St Christopher Medal are finally getting started.
You can follow them on Facebook