Songs have a dark underbelly
Exeter Phoenix, Wednesday
As singer and chief songwriter for beloved Scottish band Del Amitri, Justin Currie penned 1980s hits like Nothing Ever Happens, Kiss This Thing Goodbye and Always The Last To Know.
Three decades on and he is still as creative as ever, if not on the global scale of yore. During their long and distinguished career Del Amitri released four top ten albums, with 1989's Waking Hours selling more than a million copies in the UK alone.
The band has never formally split up; rather it has faded from the scene silently, without drama or conflict. Meanwhile, out of deep-rooted necessity rather than desire, Justin has established himself as a solo artist.
He has retained has a penchant for a good melody and clear, lyrics, but there's definitely a warm but dark underbelly to his new solo record, Lower Reaches, which he is currently touring across the UK.
Justin was born and mostly raised in Glasgow, listening to "my parents' rubbish middle-of-the-road records".
"My dad was a classical musician; my sisters bought Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits in the 1970s. They played it non-stop and I heard it through the bedroom wall," he adds.
But it was when his mum bought Gilbert O'Sullivan's records that young Justin's ears were well and truly opened.
"I got obsessed by them; I loved the melodies and learned all the words to songs like Nothing Rhymed," he recalls.
"It was when punk rock came along that I realised you could make music for different reasons. Without punk I don't think I would have gone into music.
"I was slightly too young, but I caught the tail end, going to see the Clash, the Buzzcocks and the Jam. Post-punk was huge for me; from 14 onwards, I went to see bands like Joy Division and The Fall."
He was 15 when he formed a secret band at school with friends who also liked "new music". And soon Del Amitri had their first gig.
"We were really trying to clean up the guitar sound and make something pretty; I wasn't concerned about being a good singer as long as I could get the notes out and enunciate the words," reveals Justin.