The worlds of the folky singer-songwriter and shoegaze/dreampop (depending on which side of the pond you’re from) may seem to be very different. Yet on this fantastic debut album, the two come together, not in a way that clashes but instead offers so many possibilities.
Raveloe is the project of Glasgow songwriter Kim Grant. The moniker comes from George Eliot’s Silas Marner, a novel about a reclusive weaver who lives in a town called Raveloe. Having released a series of singles over the past three years, now we have the debut proper.
Much of this is an autumnal – winter feeling record, although ‘Jeans Hill’ is rather different, feeling more spring-like in its musical tone. Kim Grant performs both solo and as part of a band, thus having songs that work both in stripped down form and in an electric format. The songwriting is skilled and accomplished, drawing from life experiences. These are fascinating snapshots, and original storytelling.
Particularly noteworthy are ‘The Chair Is Nowhere’, which recalls a childhood memory of a levitating dollhouse wardrobe, while ‘Old Lessons’ tells of her grandmother’s funeral taking place online (the line “it’s a digital funeral” has haunted me for weeks). All this along with music that, like much of the best work from Scotland taps into the magnificent melancholia that’s infused by the natural world around us.
As a writer, I am swamped in submissions. Yet this was an occasion that I knew I had to go and find out who was releasing the album. Detective work completed, I duly proclaim this to be one of the albums of the year. Forty brilliant minutes that you will want to play again and again.