James Yorkston - When the Haar Rolls In (4 stars)

James Yorkston - When the Haar Rolls In



In this age of quick fixes and cheap thrills, there’s something deeply comforting about James Yorkston. This fourth studio album is the antithesis of the nasty fast food rush of most mainstream indie fare, more like a luxurious banquet in the company of old friends at a place that wears its Michelin stars lightly. When the Haar Rolls In takes time to get into, but you suspect that’s exactly how Yorkston likes it. It’s an album of subtlety and finesse, a record which sees Yorkston further refine his formula of combining folk instrumentation – violin, concertina, mandolin, piano, bouzouki – with a hypnotic songwriting style to create something virtually unique.

Compared to previous records, When the Haar Rolls In is a relaxed-sounding affair, the rattling spraff of ‘Tortoise Regrets Hare’ or the gentle swagger of ‘Queen of Spain’ sounding loose-limbed and slightly rough around the edges, and all the better for that. While those songs are the sound of Yorkston having fun, he saves his mesmerising best for the latter segment of the album.

‘Would You Have Me Born With Wooden Eyes?’ is a thing of shimmering beauty built around simple guitar and Yorkston’s impressively sonorous voice, while closer ‘The Capture of the Horse’ is a gentle epic, eight minutes plus of folky rhythms and structures bent and twisted into wondrous, evocative new shapes.
On this evidence Yorkston is continuing to evolve and develop as an artist, and he’ll surely be with us for many more fine platters in the future.

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