THEIR two Highland shows will reveal different sides to Edinburgh band The Last September, frontman Pete Deane promised.
On Saturday for their return to Mad Hatters in Inverness, they will plug in for a more rocky, if not raucous, set alongside local heroes Iain McLaughlin and The Outsiders.
Then a few days later at Aviemore’s Old Bridge Inn, the band will a more introspective, acoustic set.
"In terms of a band, we do have a few different sides to us," Deane said.
"There are songs which are more traditional singer-songwriter kind of thing where we have acoustic guitar and stuff like that, but also, and especially recently, a lot of the stuff we have been writing has been more hard edged and electric. Our set are usually quite wide ranging anyway, but it’s also nice we’re able to look at gigs and say: let’s make this a nice and mellow one and get to know the audience. Or where it’s a big stage, just decide to put ion a show. It’s one of the exciting things about us. It means there’s more for people to discover."
The two sides of the band can also be heard in their recordings. While debut album As The Crow Flies fitted more comfortably into the singer-songwriter genre, their forthcoming album is consciously more of a band album, although Deane remains the group’s writer.
"I sort of fell out of love with the singer-songwriter thing and decided we should be more of a band," he said.
"It’s about a bunch of guys making music together. I’ve always liked people like Neil Young and David Bowie who decide to go down a different angle. You have to question what you do in order to keep things interesting."
The band has been through a number of line-up changes over the years, but Deane reckons the current line of himself, David Bishop (bass), Simon Usher (drums), Craig Nicholson (guitar and vocals) and Archie MacFarlane from the Isle of Skye (keys), are pretty much the definitive Last September.
"It gets tiresome looking for band members," he laughed.
"Things are really working for us now."
Drawing on an Americana influence, from songwriters Jeff Buckley and Laura Veirs to Bruce Springsteen and Calexico, the band have also been compared to British acts like Scotland’s own Blue Nile.
"There’s a bit of a range in there," Deane said.
"We’re doing the best gigs we have ever done and there’s a real buzz when we go on stage. We’re all feeding off each other and having a good time. It works on all levels really."
• The Last September appear at Hootananny’s Mad Hatters Bar, Inverness, on Saturday 1st February alongside local band Iain McLaughlin and The Outsiders, and at The Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore on Thursday 6th February.