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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.
What do you think of ‘From Scotland with Love’? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

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