It has been some 4 years since her last solo album, with the highly successful diversion with the supergroup the Burns Unit and a DVD stop gap overview Here's Where Tomorrow Starts in the interim. This is a step up, mature carefully considered and constructed songs, produced with a clean more sophisticated production courtesy of Iain Cook. Her pure singing voice with it's distinctive Scottish accent is as good as it's ever been , and the songs range from sharp social commentary to intensely personal sometimes tragic songs.
The opening track , Cover Your Eyes, is having a pop at American tycoon Donald Trump constructing a golf complex on the beautiful unspoilt Ythan Estuary north of Aberdeen which may ultimately be thwarted by the sea haar( coastal fog) which regularly occurs in the vicinity, while King of Birds focusses on the Occupy London Protests that took place in the grounds of St Pauls Cathedral last year .
The songs have lovely arrangements, representing a strong progression from her previous albums, clever and memorable lyrics, more wordly, but still coming across as delightfully simple at times . Often the message or moral of the song is initially a bit oblique, but is enlightened by the sleeve note clarification, and no doubt highlighted in introductions of the songs in live performance.
More personal songs include Strange News which tells the tragic story of hearing of a young cousin's death on Christmas Day, Salters Road is a tribute to a 90 year old neighbour of Karine's who was a real character, and they both live by the same ancient straight old historic country road, while closer Half a Mile tells of the disappearance of Susan Maxwell who was the same age as Karine, when she tragically disappeared on her first walk alone from her home to a tennis club in 1982 in the borders town of Coldstream.
Although the subject matter can be intense and forbidding, the quality supportive musicianship, clever memorable compositions, and excellent production make this a highly satisfying, uplifting and enjoyable album, probably her best yet, well worth the wait, a class act, and another potential contender for album of the year. Highly recommended.