You shouldn’t mist this Scot.
There's been a strong consistency from James Yorkston with a proper new album appearing every two years since 2002 which means ‘When The Haar Rolls In’ has arrived right on time and although it is more of the same folk splendour from the Fife artist, its another album that will cement his position as one of the nations foremost purveyors of this brand of music. Yorkston still finds time to appear with fellow Fence Collective friends, notably as a musician far from the limelight in UNPOC. Whether at centre stage or as part of a group, Yorkstons talent is pretty evident and this album just adds further confirmation to the fact.
James Yorkston has a wonderful rich voice but it is complimented by the addition of various female singers throughout the record and the singer is capable of working well in a duet situation as well. Given the rise in popularity of singer songwriters and folk artists, its perhaps a bit puzzling to consider that James Yorkston is not better known than what he is now but whether the artist would like that to happen is an entirely different matter. For a great number of years now, he has produced album after album of striding and remarkably consistent material and ‘When The Haar Rolls In’, unsurprisingly, doesn’t disappoint.
There is definitely a common thread and a consistent feel to the record but it never becomes boring or tiresome and a lot of this is due to the shifting tempos that Yorkston can call upon. ‘Temptation’ has an almost breathless verse which sees the singer pushing more and more words out in an almost frenetic fashion as he scampers to tell a story of misunderstanding and the undecipherable emotions that can come love and friendship. This is perfectly balanced by ‘Tortoise Regrets Hare’ which has such a relaxed demeanour to its tempo and style that the listener can sink deeply into. Again, Yorkston is accompanied on the vocals and the blend of voices combine almost like marble and honey to leave a warm glow before the darker element of the title track kicks in.
Its not as if the song is that dark but there's a slower more intoning feel about the music and the backing track is greatly added to by a variety of instruments which very rarely see the light of day on a commercial record. There is no doubt that the traditional elements of folk are being kept alive by Yorkston and this extends through the lyrics and musical feel.
Its yet another album of understated beauty from a potentially undervalued artist. In a world of overly loud people with nothing to say, it’s a relief to know that there are artists like James Yorkston still performing.