Kenny Anderson is now many, many albums into a career in which he has
consistently served up well above his rightful share of inventiveness,
emotiveness and sheer musical quality.
This latest record, written to accompany a ‘poetic documentary
(a composition of archived footage on themes including emigration, employment and war),
opens with a typically plaintive organ refrain before Anderson’s instantly
recognisable, beautifully lilting vocals begin floating over gently
shifting, major to minor chords.
It’s further proof that King Creosote isn’t just a songwriter – he’s a composer, a constructor of beauty.
Witness the last minute and a half of ‘Leaf Piece’, which is a warm,
orchestral vignette all of its own, while on ‘Miserable Strangers’’, slow-building, layered harmonies are weaved with soulstirring strings to moving effect.
From the jaunty, slightly ramshackle runaway folk of ‘Largs’, to the
ethereal two-minute instrumental ‘Crystal 8s’,
to the hugely emotive, triumphal call-to-arms that is ‘Pauper’s Dough’, ‘From Scotland With Love’ is consistently superb
In terms of stepping away from the frenetically paced, often chaotic
material of old,
‘After the End’ ticks most of the boxes; the slow burn of
the title track,
with plucked electric guitar simmering over a casually
constructed soundscape, is probably the most convincing example.
As pop throwbacks go, in fact, it’s a fine record.
My only concern, though, is that Merchandise might very well
have shed a little too much of their character in making it.
That was probably what made them so interesting in the first place
A smattering of songs from his excellent, self-titled LP – including
‘Get-Well-Cards’ and the fabulously evocative
‘Cape Canaveral’ – bring home just how strong Oberst’s catalogue is; he’s still just thirtyfour.
To be able to revert back to this territory so quickly after last year’s
successful Desaparecidos reunion
suggests he’s one of modern music’s
true renaissance men; rather like the
cathedral itself, his preservation
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