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James Yorkston When The Haar Rolls In Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

It's one of the most memorable in British folk music right now.

Rob Crossan 2008

By the time the simple, rolling acoustic guitar of the title track of this, the fourth album by Yorkston, kicks in, you're feeling far away from home. Instruments gently creak in the manner of rotting ships moored forever in harbour. Deep in the galley lies Yorkston, singing of, ''salty tongues like lounge singers''.

Accordions, flutes and the somber warmth of the steam from a mug of tea, while sat in a deserted café in a Scottish port town seems to be Yorkston's comfort zone, and When The Haar Rolls In is a folkish testament to towns, people and houses where time not so much stands still, but merely seeps away unnoticed.

The groggy, hungover feel of this record is concomitant with Yorkston's voice: a resonant burr that will bear inevitable comparisons with Nick Drake, but actually has far more of a experienced baritone feel that speaks of one too many late night cigarettes on the night bus.

Occasionally the spume from the harbour gets in your eyes such as in the more seditious harmonies of Midnight Feast, a track written by the late British folk singer, Lal Waterson. Here a monotone, hypnotic throb builds up to a climax hinting at something entirely more rambunctious: coming across like an anarchic sea-shanty as Yorkston asks us to, ''come one step closer or stay away''.

While still best-known as a member of the 'Fence Collective' - also a stable for KT Tunstall and The Beta Band - When the Haar Rolls In, while cloaked in clarinets and violas, is going to be best remembered for Yorkston's striking voice. It's one of the most memorable in British folk music right now.

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