RM Hubbert, Stereo, Glasgow, Fri 27 Jan
The launch RM Hubbert's second album, Thirteen Lost & Found, is both a celebratory and elegiac affair. A punk and post-rock veteran, Hubbert turned to the classical guitar as a way of dealing with bereavement and depression. To perform his latest album with a stellar troupe of friends old and new before a sell-out crowd is a hard-won triumph. 'Sunbeam Melts The Hour' is a gorgeously evocative opener, Hanna Tuulikki's keening vocals and Marion Kenny's koto creating an air of otherworldy radiance. Hubbert's flamenco-informed technique combines reflective chords with graceful syncopation, giving his partners a range of textures and rhythms to work with. John Ferguson's banjo provides a warm counterpoint on 'Gus Am Bris An Latha', while Shane Connolly's free-wheeling percussion and MJ McCarthy's accordion bring a skewed folk sensibility to 'Hungarian Notation'. Duets with Alasdair Roberts and Aidan Moffat offer fine syntheses of each artist's style, while the strunning 'Half Light' sees Emma Pollock cast herself as a torch singer haunted by Rafe Fitzpatrick's wraithlike violin.
Special mention must go to Tattie Toes, who began their support slot by weaving their way through the crowd wielding fiddle, accordion and hand percussion, to strike up a tune that is part Highland reel, part Romany hora. Like Hubbert, they see punk's DIY spirit as an invitation to experiment. The results are sensuous and thrillingly inventive.