Click here to return to the main site.

Music Review

Cover Image

Second Lives


Artist: Graham Costello
Label: Gearbox Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 07 May 2021

Gearbox Records brings us Graham Costello's new album, Second Lives. Drummer and composer Costello formed Strata in 2016 - an ensemble which brings together stylistic elements of minimalism, jazz and noise-rock whilst channelling a strong DIY ethic. This ethic came from Costello’s involvement in the Scottish DIY / indie scene, growing up touring all over Europe with noise rock and psych bands, and experiencing the amazing warmth and breadth of the continental independent music scene...

Over the course of this album's 11 tracks (46 min, 39 sec) Graham Costello puts a modern spin on jazz. Rather than being tied down to one aspect of the genre, Costello's output here sees him exploring and rediscovering the basic building blocks of the scene and building it up to something that is very different to a lot of the other bands around at present.

Strata consists of some of Scotland's most exciting musical proponents. Led by Costello, the band features: pianist Fergus McCreadie, whose critically acclaimed new solo album just came out via Edition Records; guitarist Joe Williamson, who was named Young Scottish Jazz Musician Of The Year in 2018 and leads hard-hitting 5-piece Animal Society; rising Trombonist Liam Shortall, who leads jazz collective corto.alto; saxophonist Harry Weir, who also leads self-proclaimed "doom-jazz" outfit AKU!; and renowned bassist Mark Hendry.

While, from track to track the album is diverse, there's constantly a jazz presence. If you were to randomly play a track for someone and ask what genre it was from they would instantly recognise it had a jazz base. And then, just when you think you've got their sound pegged, along comes 'Second Lives' that throws everything up in the air and makes you reassess the album as a whole. 'Second Lives' is more in tune with a sweet, melancholic soundtrack and it adds the icing to the cake.


Nick Smithson

Buy this item online

Digital album