A band that blends sunny power pop with a touch of Americana, Dropkick may be from Scotland, but their sound has a breezy warmth and melodic hooks that one would expect from an act hailing from the American West Coast.
With jangly and/or politely buzzy guitars, evocative vocal harmonies, and crisp rhythms, Dropkick's sound is built around the melodic songs of guitarist and singer Andrew Taylor, the only constant member throughout the group's history. A proudly D.I.Y. outfit, Dropkick record all their material in their own combination studio and rehearsal space, and handle their own distribution in the U.K. while also partnering with indie labels in Spain and Sweden. The group's prolific release schedule and consistent quality have helped them win a cult following, both in the United Kingdom and in Europe. 2014's Good Vibes: The Dropkick Songbook, Vol. 1, featuring re-recordings of material from their early albums, is a fine introduction to their songs and style, while Homeward (released the same year) leaned toward their more roots-conscious side and 2018's Longwave was an especially strong example of their mature pop side.
Dropkick was formed in 2001 by brothers Alastair Taylor and Andrew Taylor in Arbroath, Scotland. Initially, Alastair was the group's lead guitarist and handled engineering and production at the group's home studio, while Andrew was a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who provided vocals and focused on guitar while also handling drums, bass, mandolin, and banjo on their sessions. While citing smart U.K. pop acts like the Beatles and Elvis Costello as key inspirations, Dropkick were also keen fans of the Americana and alt-country scenes, and credit Tom Petty, the Jayhawks, and Wilco as particular favorites. Their debut album, 2001's Dropkick, included bass guitar and harmony vocals from Ian Grier, and was released by their own Taylored Records label. In 2004, they brought out their second full-length project, Album 25, with the Taylors joined by Martin Black on guitar and Donny Coutts on bass. The brothers multi-tracked themselves into a full band for album number three, 2005's Music to Watch Sheep By, while Ian Grier was back on guitar for 2006's Obvious, with Stuart Low on bass. 2007's Turning Circles introduced another Taylor brother, Roy, who played guitar and sang on the sessions. 2008's Dot the I was released by Taylored in the U.K. and by the Rock Indiana label in Spain, where the group had developed a following. The Swedish indie label Sound Asleep Records struck a deal with Dropkick for a second 2008 release, Patchwork. 2009 brought Abelay Hotel, which featured the three Taylors joined by bassist and guitarist Scott Tobin.
2011's Time Cuts the Ties, whose cover paid homage to Anodyne, the final album from alt-country icons Uncle Tupelo, was primarily the work of Alastair and Andrew, with Ian Grier returning for the sessions. Alastair, Andrew, and Grier were joined by drummer Mike Foy for the recording of 2012's Paper Trails, which also included guest appearances from Scott Tobin, Ian Sloan, and Roy Taylor. The line-up of Alastair, Andrew, Frier, Tobin, and Foy released two albums in 2014: Homeward was a set of fresh songs with an Americana slant, and Good Vibes: The Dropkick Songbook, Vol. 1 found the new edition of the group re-recording classics from their back catalog. At the end of 2014, Alastair Taylor left Dropkick, and Roy Taylor returned to the group, playing guitar on 2016's Balance the Light. 2018's Longwave documented more personnel turnovers with the debut of a new four-piece edition of the group -- Andrew Taylor (vocals, guitars), Ian Grier (keyboards, guitars), Alan Shields (bass, vocals), and Mike Foy (drums, vocals). The same version of Dropkick was also on hand for their next studio album, 2020's The Scenic Route. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi