Music | CD Review: James Yorkston – When the Haar Rolls In


Artist: James Yorkston
Album: When the Haar Rolls In’
Rating: B-

Scottish singer-songwriter, James Yorkston is revered not only by folk-loving folk but by a number of contemporary musicians including Philip Selwey of Radiohead and KT Tunstall.

The reasons for his widespread appeal are not so obvious on this record; words such as ‘pleasant’ and ‘inoffensive’ spring to mind but ‘innovative’ or ‘outstandingly interesting’ it is not.

Opening track ‘B’s Jig’ is typical downbeat fare; a tinkling piano and the gentle strains of an acoustic guitar are just some of the soothing sounds complimenting Yorkston’s gravely tones.

It is a shame that this is followed by one of the weaker tracks on the album. ‘Tortoise Regrets Hare’ is confused by rushed lyrics and unnecessary backing vocals, and even with a rich arrangement feels somewhat bland.

The slightly sinister tone of ‘Temptation’ makes for more interesting listening and lends room to show off Yorkston’s genuine song-writing skills and admirable vocals. ‘The Queen of Spain’ is one of the most memorable tracks on the album, understated but still surprisingly good for a sing-a-long.

‘Midnight Feast’ however, is a cringe-worthy attempt at a rousing number that comes off more like a dodgy Celtic B-side.

When the Haar Rolls In ends as it began with closing track ‘The Capture of the Horse’; quietly and without any great fanfare, and its release will most likely pass by in a similar fashion.

In a Nutshell: As if David Kitt and Josh Ritter were to collaborate for a fine-tuned but forgettable folk project.