Glasgow, Scotland is the historic epicenter for all things indie pop, which was arguably both birthed and perfected in the town. It’s also tied to a specific movement within that genre: twee, in the 1980s. And while bands who find inspiration in the past can often run the risk of sounding derivative, the quintet Spinning Coin (who recently opened for Scottish indie giants Teenage Fanclub) have found a way to mine Glasgow’s vintage sounds without sounding like mere mimics. On debut album Permo, they craft distinctly human, nonlinear pop songs, with the aid of another Scottish indie giant—Orange Juice’s Edwyn Collins, who recorded the album along with Green Door Studios’ Stu Evans.
While nothing on Permo has a clear sonic reference point, the group’s ability to balance balladic, mournful moments with ‘60s-inspired jangle recalls indie forerunners Josef K and The Fire Engines. Most of the songs deal with money—who has it, and who doesn’t—and the struggle for self-worth. “Sides” is a working class anthem, a rallying cry for anyone who’s ever slugged it out at a thankless, dead-end job. Album opener “Raining On Hope Street” is sugary-sweet dream-pop, full of soft declarations of love, like “If I had your heart / I’d give it to you,” and “Don’t be scared / I’m your friend.” Somehow these sentiments all work together—the romantic tropes of indie pop made malleable to fit Spinning Coin’s struggles with money, love, and alcohol. They do it all effortlessly, and therein lies their charm.