I have been waiting for this album for a considerable period of time.. having seen them live twice in Glasgow over the last few years, I've had to make do with faded memories and scratchy demo recordings, almost to the point where I wondered: did I really see them, or was it all just the dream of a mind yearning for something other than well pruned indie boys with guitars?
A predominantly Scottish super-group ala new pornographers and the likes (yes, they even have a melodica-wielding Canadian in their fold), The Burns Unit features an eclectic mix of performers coming together to try their hand at creating something even greater than the sum of its parts. And that's no slight on the parts, as they range from more established names (like Emma Pollock of The Delgados fame), to more folksy oriented up-and-coming types (King Creosote, Kim Edgar, Katrine Polwart), to a bit of political activism and rap (Soom T), to some aforementioned melodica wielding Canadian creativity (Michael Johnson), even finding space somewhere to fit in some pop-laden bass and a smidgen of Canadian drums (Future Pilot AKA and Mattie Foulds).
There are no bit parts in this performance either; every vocalist steps up to offer something thoroughly unique, whilst the group are also outstanding instrumentalists, leading to some wonderful lyrical collaborations and musical combinations.
I may be slightly biased, as I've been looking forward to this album for a disturbingly long time, but it's a must buy for me, and i hope it's the first of many!