James Yorkston’s musical constancy and tendency towards open-house
collaboration is an impressive and remarkable thing.
The title of this new album is a nod to his approach, and here the self-styled ‘Scottish gent’ invites KT Tunstall, amongst others, to add zest to his folky stew.Yorkston
This, as ever, is slowly immersive music; music that washes over you
gently, drawing you into its autumnal colours.
‘Feathers Are Falling’ is a delicate ballad, which engenders
images of padding softly through a warm forest glade, while ‘The Blues
You Sang’ is as soothing as a lullaby.Yorkston
Yorkston’s clever and literate lyricism is strongly in evidence
throughout the record, from the tongue-in-cheek folk duet of ‘Fellow
- The Rivers
- Krautrock and the building of Modern Germany
- Entitlement to Maintenance and Cure
to the typically beautiful and bittersweet ‘Broken Wave’, where he
gently intones “I promise I will remember you as a man full of love /
And not this broken wave”.
At over an hour, though, it feels slightly overlong, and one gentle, carefully
constructed composition tends to blend into the next, with few discernible seams.
Songs proceed mantra-like as billowing textures of soft-focus electronics and languid strings
envelop half-chanted vocals: “you knew it before you gave it a name,” goes the chorus of standout ‘Mister Skeleton’,
evoking the barely perceptible spectres that haunt the duo’s politely eccentric music.
single ‘All The Rays’, meanwhile, issues from an eternal present of
almost eerie pleasantness.
This is a record tinged with a faint sense of unease, if not quite surrealism.
Indeed, on occasion its reserved demeanour feels excessively
tasteful, as if straying too far towards the former in its marriage of the
mundane and the mysterious.
At its best, though, it finds Grumbling Fur continuing to make refined art-pop that derives considerable force from gently destabilising the familiar.
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