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When The Haar Rolls In
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By the time the simple, rolling acoustic guitar of the title track of this, the fourth album by Yorkston, kicks in, you're feeling far away from home. Instruments gently creak in the manner of rotting ships moored forever in harbour. Deep in the galley lies Yorkston, singing of, ''salty tongues like lounge singers''.
Accordions, flutes and the somber warmth of the steam from a mug of tea, while sat in a deserted café in a Scottish port town seems to be Yorkston's comfort zone, and When The Haar Rolls In is a folkish testament to towns, people and houses where time not so much stands still, but merely seeps away unnoticed.
The groggy, hungover feel of this record is concomitant with Yorkston's voice: a resonant burr that will bear inevitable comparisons with Nick Drake, but actually has far more of a experienced baritone feel that speaks of one too many late night cigarettes on the night bus.
Occasionally the spume from the harbour gets in your eyes such as in the more seditious harmonies of Midnight Feast, a track written by the late British folk singer, Lal Waterson. Here a monotone, hypnotic throb builds up to a climax hinting at something entirely more rambunctious: coming across like an anarchic sea-shanty as Yorkston asks us to, ''come one step closer or stay away''.
While still best-known as a member of the 'Fence Collective' - also a stable for KT Tunstall and The Beta Band - When the Haar Rolls In, while cloaked in clarinets and violas, is going to be best remembered for Yorkston's striking voice. It's one of the most memorable in British folk music right now. --Robert Crossan
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Top Customer Reviews
One of East Neuk most famous sons...relatively speaking...is the cat loving,real ale quaffing scruff bag, James Yorkston who has marked out his territory from fellow Fence Collective artists like the more rock/pop orientated King Creosote by virtue of the quality of his songwriting and his musicianship which is certainly more traditionally folk based than the aforementioned KC who nevertheless is a huge talent in his own right.
Without beating around the bush any longer,I will just say that 'Haar' is James Yorkston's finest moment yet. A genuine 5 star outing which perfectly displays contemporary songwriting at its best with traditional folk airs delivered with aplomb !
Using The Athletes and Folk legend Norma Waterson to great effect,the album unfolds as a beautiful musical journey which will surely be seen as one of the folk albums of 2008 and a future JY classic.
Personal favourites of mine include the charming 'Tortoise regrets Hare'...'Queen of Spain' and the epic 'Capture of the Horse'.
In a word or two....Bonnie and Beautiful !
With his own progressive brand of British Folk, Yorkston on this, his fourth studio recording, highlights what a true wordsmith he really is.
The Haar as mentioned in the title, is a sea mist that rolls in over the singer's beloved islands. Like the fog, the album, with Yorkston's soft baritone, langarousley drifts over you, gradually seeping into your being and before you know it, you're captured by its charm and serenity .
It took me 2 listens to enjoy this and I think you have to hear the whole cd in one sitting to appreciate it. He's a master of words, which he crams into each song, and each song seems to flow into the next so, put aside 49.22 minutes of your time, and enjoy his words and music.
This is an earnest but immemorable collection of inoffensive but bland folky, acoustic mumblings. Yorkston's vocals are, as ever, disinterested and as such hard to engage with, his words more spoken than sung. His songcraft here is able but uneventful. There are moments that recall Absentee's esoteric grit, gentle swellings of strings that recall The Tindersticks, but in comparison to these and others, `When The Haar Rolls In' falls short.