Die erste Vorladung (X)
The album opens with Something To Believe In. Let the Beatles comparisons roll in, with its heartbreaking chord change and trembling, gorgeous falsetto in the chorus. The next track, Cargill, sounds like Keane with more fierceness, and the ghost of The Cranberries lingers about. Miserable Strangers carries the brit-pop stylings of What’s The Story, Morning Glory?, with its pop-punk chord progression, xylophone and strings lending majestic flair while backing vocals lend said Oasis vibe. Originally named Fighting And Shafting, the gem For One Night Only breaks up the rest of the album’s decidedly mellow flavor with a much needed kick of adrenalin. Featuring fast percussion, driving guitars, and evoking Broken Social Scene’s song Of Stars And Sons (also used as backing for a cinematic night-on-the-town in the 2006 film Half Nelson), Anderson croons punk with ease.
Bluebell, Cocklebell, 123 begins with a choir of children singing dark material in the way old nursery rhymes are subject to be about. One Floor Down is best heard as an an old dance number, and Crystal 8s is a short instrumental in the songs. All the songs are very pretty, and Anderson’s voice is so sweet that it may struggle to sell harder, rougher emotions, but for a project laced with nostalgia and the gentle touch, this works to his advantage.
The one low point on the album is Yargs, a song more appropriate for a movie Bar Mitzvah than anything culturally specific to the Highlands. The flutes and windpipes are well done, a lovely electric guitar is plucked at the end, but the song could probably have worked better as an instrumental than with any vocals. As it is, it doesn’t quite gel. This isn’t so much the fault of the artist or the material, but because it sounds like polka, which supports the main criticism about polka: no matter how good the polka, it’s still polka.
The music-hall canter of ‘Largs’ mingles naturally with the stirringly delicate, string-assisted ‘Miserable Strangers’, both offering a reminder of just how remarkably expressive KC’s voice can be.
With lyrical viewpoints and musical references more diverse than ever, this set is his finest solo release to date.
Although the subject matter is small the music itself is widescreen; with lush production and a string section section featuring in many songs. This lends the music a textured aspect befitting its cinematic purpose, and marks a continuation of King Creosote's journey from dishevelled lo-fi troubadour towards a more polished entity.
For many artists this trajectory would be lamentable, yet it's good to hear Anderson's tracks given room to breathe. Some of the arrangements here are almost baroque, such as the majestic 'One Floor Down', one of many tracks on the album to recall Sufjan Stevens, another would be solipsistic songwriter who tackled grander themes in his music.
This project that plays perfectly to his strengths. Never has a life spent on the breadline in Scotland seemed so romantic. The heartbreak and toil inherent in Scottish history have been rendered beautifully by someone who obviously has a strong attachment to the country. This wouldn't work without a Scotsman at the helm. From Scotland with Love stands testimony to the increasing genius of Anderson and his craft.
(Droned In Sound)
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