A haven for Irish refugees escaping from the potato famine of the 1840s, Glasgow's East End is the kind of area which for most people exists only on a map. Blighted by social deprivation and unaffected by the gentrification which has raised living standards elsewhere, like many other areas across Scotland's first city it's also home to numerous youth gangs, following a tradition of violence and conflagration along religious, territorial and more recently ethnic lines which stretch back into the 1950s and beyond. Be certain; this is not the pantomime choreography of West Side Story, it is real, dangerous and as pervasive as it is nihilistic.
It's also intrinsic to the most effective moments of Glasvegas debut album, a record, which in Britain at least, has critics talking openly about the second coming of rock and roll. Certainly their timing could not be better. Aside from the bunk of "new rave" and the continuing excellence of the Arctic Monkeys, the genre which calls itself independent music - but in reality is very far from it - has been languishing in a creative rut since the well publicized demise of The Libertines.
From Dalmarnock - one of Glasgow's previously mentioned post industrial wastelands, in which if you believe the press it's considerably easier to get assaulted than get a job - the four piece have not only arrived at a time when the homogeneous lump of monobrowed Gallagher-a-likes are in danger of coalescing into a single troglodyte mass of blarney, but they also find themselves being rather disingenuously tipped as the saviors of all music not made by former talent show contestants. This anointment might seem a little strange to lead singer and Joe Strummer lookalike James Allan, a man who openly admits to growing up on a diet of Elvis and The Shadows, but together with fellow apostles Rab Allan, Paul Donaghue, and drummer Caroline Mckay he seemingly now appears to have a platform like no other from which to preach their gospel.