Thirty two minutes of blissful, tender and emotionally affecting music, designed to be listened to as a single piece, these tracks have been reworked and elaborated over the course of a few years by collaborators Kenny ‘King Creosote’ Anderson and Jon Hopkins and the result is like a life compressed into half an hour, the tears, the joy, the hopes and fears, and the ageing process…
Of course the sense of Scottishness and specifically the Kingdom of Fife, is writ large throughout – the comforting clatter of a church fete tea, sounds of cars and bike wheels, the lot of the east coast sailor and the lilting croon of Mr Anderson, all pieced together with extraordinary care and lightness of touch to make up this suite of achingly personal music.
Its true there is such a lightness here in the playing and singing (Lisa Lindley-Jones additional vocals are extraordinarily beautiful), and in the delicate arrangements, that it is easy to overlook the deeper emotions contained in some tracks.
The superlative Bats in the Attic manages to be both wistful and sad about growing older; “Growing silver in my sideburns, I’ve started to unravel” and yet contain a suppressed sense of rage; “…such a waste of all that we have, Such a waste of all that I am”. Though the closer Your Young Voice just repeats the words “It’s your young voice that’s keeping me holding on To my dull life, to my dull life”, and sung about his daughter, it feels both poignant and confessional.
Mr Anderson has been a prolific producer of music, the anchor for the Fence Collective itself the source of much excellent music, but he can never have produced more emotionally charged, sublime music than on this all to brief album. It is rare indeed that music brings such a lump to the throat and tear to the eye.