New Blood: The Common Redstarts

It looks like it might be time for the Common Redstarts to fly the nest

Feature by Jon Seller | 16 May 2006

The Common Redstart or Phoenicurus phoenicurus is, according to Collins' Bird Guide, "a rather unobtrusive summer visitor which keeps mainly to trees and bushes." Luckily for Edinburgh's informed music lovers, the city's non-feathered variety are just the opposite. Found throughout the country all year round, the 'Redstarts lively Clash-infused rock and roll is anything but unobtrusive. Their tendencies for tree/bush habitation are unknown.

The Common Redstarts story began five years ago whilst all members were in their latter day school years. Under the name Parka, the band embarked on an impressively intensive local touring journey which saw them slowly build up an enthusiastic fan base along with a name for themselves in the stirring Edinburgh music scene. Their break came in 2005, early on in their current incarnation, when a Bongo Club gig caught the eye of Seeca Records. The London-based label wasted no time in snapping them up, and have been just what the 'Redstarts were looking for says guitarist/vocalist Jordan Croan: "The proof in the pudding is the album for me. They stuck by us through a difficult time and now we couldn't be happier with the way it sounds. You've both got to be coming from the same place and as long as everyone's priorities are the same then it usually works."

Latest single, Killing Street, a bruising journey through a city's dark underbelly, has been lapped up by those insightful chaps at Xfm Scotland and appears to have provided a launch pad from which greater things can be reached. "It's been a good start to what should be a cracking year for us" says Croan. "We finished our album in January which is sounding fucking great. We did our first tour of the country which was a messy one but amazing, it went down better than even we expected."

Their influences are widely varied, with little snobbery when it comes to citing other bands in their sound. A glance at the website blog reveals an extensive list ranging from Oasis to Gram Parsons, although a melodic quality in the listed is ever-present and reflected in the band's own sound.

With their debut album release imminent, the band, consisting of Croan, Graeme Thomson (guitar), Fraser Mckirdy (bass), Gary Johnstone (drums) and Rory Dinwoodie ('co-songwriter/guru') are excited about the prospects for the coming 12 months, whilst not getting bogged down by how they're perceived. "It would be good if in a year's time we could say that even if our album only sold about five fucking copies that we gave it our best shot and were still very proud of what we had done".

It looks like it may be time for the Common Redstarts to fly the nest.


The Common Redstarts play Whistle Binkies on May 30.
Killing Street is out now on Seeca Records.