Album Reviews: Kyle Falconer | lump sum | David Crosby | wojtek the bear

Kyle Falconer PIC: Bazza Mills
Kyle Falconer PIC: Bazza Mills

Kyle Falconer: No Love Songs for Laura (Honey Pie Records) ***

Package: Animal (Partisan / Chrysalis) ****

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David Crosby: Free (BMG) ****

Lump sum photo Steph Wilson

wojtek the bear: paradise through the back door (Last Night from Glasgow) ****

Kyle falconer has racked up quite a bit of rock ‘n’ roll clichés – from air rage addiction to drug rehab in Thailand – during his 15 years as the independent hero leader of Dundonian The View. Meanwhile, her pop chops, including her innate melody, vocal skills, and love of musicals on stage, have often been overlooked.

His solo career is an opportunity to reset perceptions and to work his melodic muscles. Her second solo album, No Love Songs for Laura, created with producer Frankie Siragusa, takes her far from traditional View territory, swapping guitar for piano as a writing instrument and embracing a host of retro stylistic influences alongside radio tropes of the day. to shape the upbeat, propulsive pop of Stress Ball and the 21st century soul funk earworm of Wait Around.

Along the way there are straightforward and straightforward reflections on rehabilitation, odes to his wife and late mother, a humble acceptance of her flaws and even her domestic responsibilities (“I will stay home, I will stay home, I will stay home. ‘take care of the children and sing the songs “) on the lighter Rake It In.

David Crosby

Moan’s timeless indie pop is his only concession to his rocking past; Otherwise, he embraces commercial Celtic soul on Listen Lucy, stretches his voice over the 70s-inspired string hymn Funeral Song, and records a song, Don’t Call Me Baby, originally written for a musical that he hoped to produce. Don’t bet against a project of this magnitude in the future.

Laura Marling once again teams up with Mike Lindsay of folk psych group Tunng to record their second album of serene electro pop as Piece. Freed from the distinctive Joni Mitchellesque styles of her solo career, Marling indulges in stream of conscience lyrics, triggered by her master’s studies in psychoanalysis, with fluid phrasing, legato, and multitrack or interwoven vocals, while Lindsay makes full use of a Pitch Shifter Harmonizer to create a smooth funky flow.

The duo were strangers when they first worked together, but will now admit a bit more familiarity in their interactions. They’re a winning, freewheeling team, with Marling taking a harder, more declamatory line on a balanced funk beat on Climb Every Wall, playing the deadpan diva on eerie 1970s spy movie chords on Paradise, and breaking into a central eight of choral devotion on the track before reverting to bass electro pop with a subtle but compelling bassline.

In contrast, the influence of Joni Mitchell permeates the latest album by his Laurel Canyon counterpart. David Crosby. For Free is named after Mitchell’s disarming song which he faithfully covers here with Texan singer / songwriter Sarah Jarosz (Lana Del Rey also recorded an alluring version of this ode to music for the love of music on his most recent album) and Crosby has long shared the love of a serpentine melody.

After having (again) cut ties with his friends Crosby, Stills & Nash, he finds other collaborators for this lush album, in particular his son James Raymond who contributes to the vulnerable closing track I Won’t Stay for Long, Michael McDonald on Steely Dan’s graceful, calming River Rise and Donald Fagen that brings that familiar sweet fusion and pristine acting to Rodriguez for a Night.

Glasgow indie pop quintet wojtek the bear present “ten songs about life, love and regret” on their latest offering in lowercase, paradise by the back door, raising spirits while lowering their heads. The soundtrack of brass and chime guitar the astringent lyrics of shut your mouth, there are melancholy undertones of elegant 80s pop soul on less fear, and the tide that will not return like Belle & Sebastian with its strings carefree and ba-ba -choeurs.

JS Bach: Goldberg Variations (Delphian) ****

While some might be tempted to turn off Samuele Telari’s brave new recording on the accordion of Bach’s epic Goldberg Variations in the first two minutes, don’t. For beyond its laborious and slightly languid opening Aria – the genesis of Bach’s 30 brilliantly comprehensive variations – is a performance that works strangely, the accordion’s naturally abrasive whistle charmingly reminiscent of an antique portable organ, and the Telari’s manipulation of Bach’s contrapuntal puzzle as skilfully and artfully unraveled as by any keyboard virtuoso. Take for example the subtle, multi-layered precision of Fughetta, or the natural zest of Canone all Sesta. The high speed Variation 20 goes like tap dancing, and the Variation 7, Al tempo di Giga, would make a storm in any Scots Ceilidh. When the final recap of Aria’s opening appears, it seems less of a problem – the ear has tuned in and the spacious calm portrays a welcome destination. Ken walton

John Hinshelwood: Recalled (Littleroots Records) ****

Emily Dickinson’s singular poetry, largely unpublished during her lifetime, receives unlikely but thoughtful treatment from Scottish singer-songwriter John Hinshelwood, who adapts her work to modern American accompaniments – bluegrass, old-time, jazz – without obscuring the interrogative wonder of the poems. . The lonely bard of Amherst’s elliptical but luminous poetry is swept away by a slip of Scots Americana. The album’s many participants include its regular collaborator, guitarist Tim Black, violin by Jeri Foreman, and dobro and lap steel guitars by Colin MacFarlane and Dave Currie. Alex Sharples’ bluesy trumpet and languid lap steel graces arguably Dickinson’s best-known poem, Hope is the Thing with Feathers, the sadly soaring violin underlies Beauty and Truth, while the bluegrass joggers of Judgment Day goes away in a strange sunset with the reversed guitar. Three instrumentals include the title song, Called Back (the inscription on Dickinson’s gravestone), a melancholy weaving of dobro, violin, mandolin and guitar. Jim gilchrist

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