King Creosote – 'From Scotland with Love' album review

Kenny Anderson supersizes his homemade sound for a tour of the homeland


London might not be aware of it but 2014 is a big year in Scotland. There’s the independence referendum in September, and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games start on Wednesday. If you’ve seen the Braveheart-meets-Burton mash-up that is Team Scotland’s kit you’d be forgiven for writing the whole thing off – but here’s redemption. This new album from Fife folkster Kenny Anderson accompanies a Commonwealth-commemorating film of archive footage from all over Scotland, and is his first new major-label release since 2011’s Mercury-nominated ‘Diamond Mine’.

And even without the sports and the cinema this record’s still a beautiful thing, flitting between affecting, inspiring, amusing and enchanting. Usually, KC’s softwater voice, sea-shanty accordion and ever-present acoustic guitar sound like they’re piped straight from a hearth-warmed stone pub next to the North Sea, but on ‘From Scotland with Love’ they’re given a Ben Nevis-sized boost from big-room production. The strings, choir and spirited choruses could become stadium-filling bellow-alongs in the likes of Elbow’s hands, but here they’re always heartfelt.

From the Largs seaside to the Fraserburgh fisheries, King Creosote’s is an ardent guide to a country you won’t see on the Visit Scotland adverts. Join him at the Barbican in September and give him some love back from London.
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