The Reindeer Section


The title of the Reindeer Section’s beautifully lush debut sounds like someone’s idea of a joke: These (t)wee-pop Scots ain’t gonna scare anyone. The pastoral, almost hymnal, pop-perfect meditations on love and loss on Y’All Get Scared Now, Ya Hear! are far more likely to induce heartache than anything resembling even the slightest tinges of fear. Masterminded by Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, the Reindeer Section has a rotating 15-person lineup that features members of Glasgow’s Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, and Arab Strap, as well as folks from lesser-knowns such as Astrid, Mull Historical Society, and V-Twin. Y’All Get Scared Now doesn’t necessarily recall any one of those acts’ specific sounds or styles, however. Instead, the band comes closest to the melancholic, lighter-than-air dream-pop of Mojave 3 and the Field Mice, turning in a haunting and heart-heavy album of understated guitar-, keyboard-, and violin-driven laments. Lightbody coos and sighs his way through the album, longing for someone to be with him for the long haul on “If Everything Fell Quiet” (“Be the heart in my chest/This is the way I want you to look at my life”) and reassuring his lover that they’ll be together “for 30 years and maybe more” on the tender, plodding “12 Hours It Takes Sometimes.” Such promises are nothing more than red herrings, however, because there’s little sense of romantic stability in the Reindeer Section’s fragile, bittersweet world of shimmering pop and harmonic heartbreak. Lovers lie and leave or have lied and left on nearly every one of these 14 tracks, resulting in Lightbody’s mourning on “The Opening Taste” that he “never got to say goodbye” as the instrumentation swells behind him. So maybe the disc’s title isn’t really meant to be funny at all: Almost everyone knows that matters of the heart all too often result in nothing but teary-eyed trauma. Which is, ultimately, the warning at the center of Y’All Get Scared Now: Lovers, be afraid. Be very afraid. —Jimmy Draper