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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 10 March 2009
I bought this in advance from the Lau website which was sending it out a month in advance of the normal release. First 500 copies signed too - so if it's of any interest, Aidan has the best handwriting!
So this is the third album from Lau although only the second studio recording. A couple of the tracks first appeared on the Live album - Banks of Marble and Frank and Flo's and the bonus track (Dear Prudence) was on a Mojo cover-mounted CD of the White Album (well it was a two parter obviously).
I'm always reluctant to do reviews very early on (if you look most of my reviews are of things released years ago). I decided to make an exception here as there really is something special going on. I had heard a couple of the tracks when the band played Celtic Connections in January and there is definitely an increased confidence in what they are doing. This shows up well in the writing, with Winter Moon the first evidence of Kris Drever starting to come up with new songs. There are also some cracking new tunes - The Burrian, Horizontigo and The Salty Boys all favourites at this early stage.
There is some steel guitar on a few tracks and backing vocals from Karine Polwart, Inge Thompson (now married to Martin Green) and Corrina Hewitt.
If anyone had told me 10 years ago that my favourite band would consist of a fiddler an accordionist and an acoustic guitarist I would have laughed them out of the room!
Go and see them live, you won't regret it.
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on 14 May 2009
Arc Light is a big record, big melodies, big concepts and a big leap toward Lau being accepted into the mainstream as opposed to be viewed as a `folk' band and all the negative connotations that holds for the uninitiated.

Folk purists need not panic, there is plenty here for you to love and cherish as well. Arc Light is packed with innovation from the introduction of pedal steel guitar for the first time to the live qualities of production.

Kris Drever's vocals have moved on again from the first two records and seem to indicate a greater confidence in his own ability and rightly so. Winter Moon and Banks of Marble are both very worthy singles and full of hooks, I have played them over and over since getting the album. Horizontigo is a magical instrumental that reminds me of the glorious John Martyn track, Small Hours played at 45rpm as opposed to 33rpm.

Buy this record regardless of your musical tastes, you will not be disappointed.
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The folk scene in Britain is pretty strong at the moment, with some really talented artists producing new and exciting music, either pure folk such as Spiers and Boden, or folk hybrids such as Seth Lakeman or Bellowhead. Some of the best material seems to be coming out of Scotland, and Lau, and amalgam of Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O'Rourke, are one of the best of the Scottish scene.

Attracted to the album by the presence of Drever, who's solo work and collaboration with Roddy Woomble and John McCusker are a permanent presence in my CD player due to his beautiful voice, I am pleased to report that this album offers all that I admire Drever for, but successfully blends in the influences of Green and O'Rourke to produce something different and fresh.

The heart of the album is a love and passion for folk music, tempered with a modern sensibility. Mixing Green's iridescent fiddle work with O'Rourke's delightful accordion and the beautiful voice of Drever we are presented wioth a set of tunes that seem designed to get you up and dancing, but tell tales of the trials and tribulations of people in a long gone age, but still manage somehow to pass comment on society today. Especially the righteously indignant Banks Of Marble, my favourite track, that appears to really lay into the rich overclass.

It's a quite stunning album. 5 stars easily.
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LAU = Natural Light. The name becomes them.
Pushing the boundaries on from their wonderful
2007 debut 'Lightweights & Gentlemen' this
fiercely talented Scottish trio return with
an inspiring second showing : 'Arc Light'.

Messrs Deever (guitar/vocals); O'Rourke (fiddle)
and Green (accordion) stamp their idiosyncratic
mark on the hide of an ancient musical tradition.

They make a beautiful noise.

That such a small ensemble (with the occasional help
of Mr Nisbet's pedal steel guitar and a smattering of
additional backing vocals) are able to create such a
wide range of moods and soundscapes is breathtaking.

All three performers' technical skills are prodigious.
The melodic and rhythmic structure of the ten compositions
is slippery, elusive and inspirationally driven.
Whether in the mind-bending complexities of instrumentals
such as 'Horizontigo - a. Horizontigo. b. Alright In The Held';
or a gently lilting and heart-melting vocal ballad like
'Winter Moon', (Mr Drever hs a cracking voice!) the band
consistently deliver a truly thrilling and uplifting anthology
of imaginative sonic adventures.

Other highlights include the incandescent 'Banks Of Marble',
where all three primary instuments spit out shards of silver
behind another strong vocal outing from Mr Drever and the
perfectly lovely closing track 'Dear Prudence', a curiously
affecting (and strangely different) little slice of hippie heaven.

It's all good! No waste at all. A stunning achievement in fact.

Highly Recommended.
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on 17 June 2010
Lau's latest album has been labelled "progressive folk" - and not, I suspect, from a complimentary viewpoint either! As a devotee of progressive rock in the late 60's and 70's, it puzzled me - and still does! - that long pieces of often virtuosic music by composers from Mahler to Mozart, Beethoven to Bax,were labelled "classic", whilst similar pieces constructed of layers of musical themes, interspersed by solo improvisation, by bands such as Yes, Caravan and Camel should be deemed "pretentious".

And now we have Lau's "Arc Light" - longer pieces, each building on a musical theme, each offering opportunities and time for the soloist to explore variations around each theme. What is the difference? Well, I suppose it is all down to simple taste.

What I would say is that Lau have pushed a few boundaries here. They may upset some of the purists but what they have produced is the most interesting and, to my mind, innovative folk album in years. Progressive folk it certainly is - and, guys, wear that label with pride!
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on 21 February 2014
I really enjoyed Lightweights and Gentlemen and have played it over and over, so bought this one on the strength of it. Mistake! Too much, too much, too much. A pity, because I shall be wary of buying anything else by them now. Reminds me of when I tried to get into avante garde classical, only to retire defeated. Defeated again. Sorry.
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on 7 August 2009
I have seen them live and I already knew some of the songs but my God they are good. If you like traditional music done in a modern way (without ruining the traditional) this is for you. What musicians!!
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on 20 November 2011
I first saw LAU on SKY ARTS via the annual Cropredy festival. An amazing band. I had never heard of them before that. So, as people often do; is to try an album out and this is what I think.

It's no let down. A three piece folk band of Accordian, guitar and fiddle, make the bulk of the music, with the occasional vocal. There are no duff tracks, all very strong and thoughtful with accomplished musicianship all the way through. I didnt detect any direct traditional music, but there was much in the way of folk roots influence.

If you like folk music try Lau. You won't be dissapointed.
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on 8 May 2009
I saw Lau live and loved them ... this album is a great mixture of their instumental and vocal work.I can hardly believe that three people can make such a rich sound!
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on 10 May 2009 exactly what I do to Lau (with perhaps a little mental jig). Just magic.
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