An important work, crammed with deft, sweet touches.
Daryl Easlea 2008-09-12
Before The Ruin is the result of three of Scotland's best current writers and performers getting together with limited time (seven afternoons and then demoed on a laptop). Regardless of whether folk is all the rage or not at the moment, Before The Ruin is perfect for those who admire the well-written song. When you consider the average age of the players here is early 30s, the sound is mature beyond its years. Taking traditional folk as a starting point, they add in splashes of CSNY, pastoral Zeppelin and Radiohead (whose drummer, Phil Selway guests) to make something that, in this world of transient pop daisies, is resolutely made of long-lasting oak.
Roddy Woomble continues to step away from his indie past with élan, as this is a very satisfying follow-up to My Secret Is My Silence; his vocal and guitar interplay with Kris Drever is at once familiar yet surprising. Fiddle superstar McCusker (currently heard on Paul Weller's 22 Dreams and who has recently returned from touring with Mark Knopfler) underpins this with his mournful, soulful playing. Silver and Gold is indicative of what lies within; swelling fiddle, a memorable chorus and strong commercial sensibility. The title track swaggers and sways. With guest appearances from Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake, Before The Ruin is an important work, crammed with deft, sweet touches.