For a Mercury-nominated album this one really crept out with no hoohah, and indeed no promotional copies – however, a here’s a retrospective / pre-Mercurys review for the album that unites King Creosote – I think you may have heard of him – with a guy who made his name working with Brian Eno, composing material for the ambient pioneer’s 2010 album Small Craft On A Milk Sea, and also playing keys on Coldplay’s Viva Vida Loca (or whatever it was called).
It’s maybe not as odd a marriage as it sounds, and that fact may or may not boost the album’s indie cred, or please the folkies, or increase its Mercury chances (should such a thing concern either protagonist).
You see, listened to in isolation it’s a fine album, but Hopkins’ sonic twiddling is nothing more radical than KC has employed in his work with a plethora of past collaborators – DeFence, Minotaur Shock, etc – in the past. It does add something, but worthy of a dual billing?
To be fair, Hopkins’ pedigree means that his fans may well be asking similar questions about KC, so we should review the release with no preconceptions.
So, take ‘Running on Fumes’ – a lovely, choral feel to it, and you can really hear the Coldplay connection. Meanwhile, ‘First Watch’ is really just some atmospheric found sounds – with only 8 tracks on here you suspect that the panel might feel short-changed.
Conversely ‘Your Young Face’ seems to be free of Mr H, but it’s not exactly the most remarkable tune Kenny’s ever produced. ‘Bats In The Attic’ is again a lovely melody, in that very familiar yet unique KC style, and the backing augments it nicely.
As a whole, the album’s no Musical Boatrides, certainly no Rules OK, not even a Bombshell, being inconsistent in terms of songwriting – I suspect that this was a throwaway bedroom jam which grew legs… of course, Mr Anderson’s wealth of tunes is such that he can afford to dispense with stuff like he did with My Nth Bit Of Strange – there’s always another flash of genius on its way.
In summary – it’s a very decent album, but then again, all King Creosote albums are. I’m not sure if it’s taken the Eno and Coldplay connection via JH to propel him to this level of attention.
So many questions. But the most telling one might well be, how did it take so long?