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Breaking Out: The Cinematics

VIDEO: Read the feature from Spin's Feb. issue, then watch an interview and live performance!

The Cinematics aren’t united by childhood friendship or a favorite band — just a hatred of Van Morrison. As teenagers in the tiny Scottish town of Dingwall, the members of the neo-new-wave group wrote original songs in competing local bands — bassist Adam Goemans and guitarist Ramsay Miller in one, vocalist Scott Rinning and drummer Ross Bonney in another — but also begrudgingly churned out covers together at middle-aged singles bars to pay the bills. While sweatin’ the oldies, they tried to squeeze in songs like Radiohead’s “Just,” but the Viagra set preferred “Brown Eyed Girl.” “That song makes me want to take a cheese grater to my brain,” Goemans laments. “Then one of the guys in the band asked me to learn ‘Waterloo’ by ABBA, and I just hit the roof.”

Since being Dingwall’s finest didn’t offer much upside, the foursome formed the Cinematics and relocated to Glasgow in 2003, just as the city found itself in A&R reps’ crosshairs thanks to Franz Ferdinand’s breakthrough. Though they mostly eschewed the scene’s angular art rock, the Cinematics sometimes had a rough time standing out, particularly since their swept bangs resemble those worn by Franz’s Alex Kapranos and Nick McCarthy. “I sometimes wonder what it would be like if we were from France or if we lost the fringes,” Rinning says.

With the upcoming release of the Cinematics’ debut, A Strange Education (TVT), Rinning won’t need that pair of shears, not after he wails like a dour choirboy on the darkly lush post-punk anthem “Human” or tackles falsetto on the sly Britpop gem “Chase.” Those vocals are garnering comparisons to Jeff Buckley and reeling in early adopters like Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody. “Gary started turning up at our shows, and his enthusiasm was still there six months later,” says Miller. “We can always draw on that for a confidence boost.”

And if their brief travels in America are any indication, being from Glasgow won’t mean a damn thing. “Last night we played in New Jersey, and we told the sound man we were from Scotland,” Rinning says. “He asked if that was near Finland.” PETER GASTON

Now Watch This:

Catch a ‘Break’ with Cinematics

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>> Listen to the Cinematics on Napster

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