The follow-up to Butcher Boy’s well-received debut album finds them in familiar, but still exquisitely-crafted territory. React or Die is tuneful, rustic and soothing in equally handsome measures. However, the band draws a line between the traditional folk sounds of their Celtic forefathers and Glaswegian twee contemporaries like Belle and Sebastian or Wake the President; the mandolin intro to opening track When I’m Asleep predates vintage, setting the band’s uncompromisingly old-school agenda from the start. In that respect, Butcher Boy aren’t unlike the Fleet Foxes: too preoccupied with crafting wonderful melodies to worry about tempering them with excessive knob-twiddling. Smiths comparisons are not wholly inaccurate (the lyrics on This Kiss Will Marry Us recall Morrissey at his best, and the guitars of A Better Ghost wouldn’t be out of place in a Johnny Marr songbook) but fail to tell the full story of a band quietly and confidently carving out their own unique and impressive niche.
Originally written for The Skinny, here