Not known for being especially comfortable in front of the media spotlight, Malcolm Middleton has found himself doing more interviews in the past couple of weeks, than he has in the last two years. They’ve also been with press outlets that up until a month ago, probably didn’t even know who he was.

Were Middleton to reach the Christmas number 1 spot, it is the snowballing campaign for him to overhall the bland garbage thrown out by Simon Cowell’s X-Factor show that has promoted such interest in him, it would be as big a statement for alternative music fan power as when Bell and Sebastian won the public vote for Brit Award for best new comer at the end of the nineties. Not that any of us expect Middleton to do it, and neither does he, but it’s all good fun and great exposure for a man who’s been around as a solo artist since 2002, which has seen him release three albums, including the wonderfully titled debut ‘5.14 Fluoxytine Seagull Alcohol John Nicotine’.

2007 has been much more than just a facebook and celebrity backed chart attempt. Album number three was released in February and gained positive reviews, including our own, which called it “a stunning introspective solo offering”.

“'A Brighter Beat' manages to channel the emotion inevitably caused by Arab Strap's break up into a wondrous mix of thrashing guitars and indie angst that seldom remains static for more than a few moments,” Jo Vallance continues, concluding by saying “while it has its depressive moments, like the morose but genius, 'Four Cigarettes', 'A Brighter Beat' is generally just that, a tale of sunshine and rain but one which leaves you feeling very optimistic about Malcolm Middleton's solo career.”

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‘Beap Beap, I Love You’, a tactfully adapted version of ‘Fuck It, I Love You’, and
‘Fight Like The Night’ followed throughout the year, all building up to what has become his biggest one track release to date ‘We’re All Going To Die’.

Festivals including T in the Park and Oxegen saw Middleton busy across the summer, with R13 first checking him out live in 2007 at the
Camden Crawl back in April. Here, as on parts of his album he was ably assisted by Jenny Reeve (a considerable talent in her own right, with Strike The Colours and The Reindeer Section) on fiddle and backing vocals. This set had an intensity about it that prompted our reviewer Andy Reilly to state that “with the addition of strings increasing the tension and Malcolm spitting some venom into proceedings, the drama had the crowd hooked and at the shows end, some fresh air was required, and not just because of the venues heat.”

An autumn tour followed his festival appearances, but as returning to the topic of the current single brings us right up to date, it would seem the best way to round this article off.

In the middle of November the track was rated as a 1000/1 shot by William Hill (the longest odds the book maker has ever given for a festive chart topper). Within days of Radio 1 DJs Colin Murray and Scott Mills backing the track the odds had been slashed in half, and by the end of November he was ahead of Amy Winehouse at 20/1.

In the past week a few well known figures have backed the track. Aside from Murray, who said "apathy is our biggest enemy, not the bloke with the high waistband” comedian Dave Gorman wrote on his blog in support of the song. He said "If you've never downloaded a single before... make this your first one. Go to iTunes now and do it. Do it to show Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh that they can't make just anything happen. Do it so that future generations don't judge us too harshly. Do it to show the children that they don't boss the charts. But most of all do it for Christmas."

Scottish singer songwriter Amy MacDonald has also come out in support for Malcolm of late, speaking in the Daily Record newspaper: "I am right behind Malcolm. He has written the song himself and it has a fun element behind it”

Biffy Clyro and Ash are just two more lending their support.

It depends on how you view chart positions as to whether you think this is something to care about. The Brit Award didn’t alter Bell and Sebastian’s approach, and this extra profile isn’t likely to make any difference to Malcolm Middleton, However if it means a few more people hear his ‘A Brighter Beat’ album then bring it on! More importantly, if the huge publicity this track has gained, prompts more people to seek out interesting artists they might not normally hear, be they of a similar style to Malcolm Middleton, electronica, thrash metal or whatever, even better.

Malcolm Middleton is set to release a new album in February through Full Time Hobby. Called 'Sleight of Heart', this album offers 6 new songs, including 'Blue Plastic Bags' that aired for the first time on Colin Murray's Radio 1 show last Monday (December 17). The record also comes with three covers, of Madonna, King Creosote and Jackson C Frank.

Check out the rest of our band of the year list