Scottish Albums of the Decade #15: De Rosa - Prevention

Feature by Barry Burns | 26 Nov 2009

The album which immediately comes to my mind as Scottish Album of the Decade is 2009's Prevention by De Rosa. I remember my first time watching them play in a tiny pub in Glasgow after being invited by their bass guitarist James Woodside. I recall thinking during the gig that this is just right up my street and so I've followed them closely ever since – asking them to come on a short tour with Mogwai in Europe and some other one-off dates.

Their first album Mend is a close second nomination for me but Prevention has so much more to it in terms of Martin Henry's newer, even better lyrics and how the band had developed a greater understanding of what they were about musically. To use acoustic guitars alongside newer electronic musical technology is no new thing by any stretch but to do it so seamlessly as De Rosa on this record is a great achievement and very inspiring to me. I think the song Pest is a good example of this and possibly my favourite track on the album. That same song manages to be witty as well as quite raw when Martin sings, "Desire crawls on my back like a rat, I doubt Rentokil handle that."

It's often the songs that take a few listens which reap great rewards too, for example, the songs Tinto and Swell improve every time I hear them, in layers. Like the film Ghostbusters.

I was asked to play piano on this record too. Of course I jumped at the chance and I've rarely grinned as much while playing so many sad wee minor chords. It's something I'll never forget.

I suppose it's ostensibly a great modern Scottish folk album, though its appeal should extend to anyone who enjoys well thought-out (and, incidentally, beautifully recorded) music. Neither stuffy musically nor lyrically prosaic like a lot of music around currently, this album is an example of something to savour and be glad that the choice to record it was made by a bunch of folk from Bellshill and Uddingston.

Very sadly and very shortly after the release of Prevention, the band quietly split up. Presumably their understanding of music was that little bit greater than of inter-band relationships but these things happen and so I hold precious what they created and look forward to some other assembly of their members. Maybe a reunion gig in 15 years. Everyone's at it these days, I can wait.

(Released: March 2009)