In a year that didn't see the release of a true, all-time classic album in the shape of PJ Harvey's "Let England Shake" this would have been a real contender for album of the year. An unlikely collaboration between electronica composer John Hopkins and Fife's finest; Kenny Anderson, known as King Creosote produces magical, touching and beautiful results that yields more and more of its charms with repeated listening. Lyrically the album explores the lives of fishermen on the unforgiving Fife coast, exploring the relationship between the land and the ocean and the difficulties of a life spent exploiting the sea.
Musically the album achieves a seamless link between Anderson's unashamedly lo fi instrumentation (he is a master accordion player and competent acoustic guitarist) and the atmospheres and soundscapes created by Hopkins. We start with a beautifully realised soundscape combining snippets of conversation with a building electronic atmosphere that segues wonderfully into the gorgeous "John Taylor's Month Away". Put on the headphones and listen to seagulls, waves rolling against a rocky shore all of them taking on musical qualities against Anderson's beautifully recorded strumming.
By some distance the finest quality of this tremendous album however is Anderson's vocal performance. Rarely have I found male vocals as beautiful and affecting as Anderson's and on this album you will find many of his finest recorded moments. On the hearbreakingly lovely "Bats in the Attic" Anderson's vocals set against understated piano chords, some subtle drums and reverb which perfectly holds everything together the vocals soar and intertwine with beautiful harmonies in a way that few could master. An album then of beautiful components, bound together by wonderful songwriting and arrangements that still manages to surpass the sum of its parts. A rare occurrence indeed and one to be treasured. Highly recommended.