James Yorkston – When the Haar Rolls In

James Yorkston

Blimey James Yorkston has hit his stride. Not to imply that he was struggling to do so before of course, but in terms of having the confidence to experiment a little, whilst not being so frantic to reinvent himself that he throws the baby out with the bathwater, he has created an album with real presence.

It’s familiar, but something quite fundamental in the rhythm, particularly the rhythm of the vocal delivery, seems to have changed. It spills more, flows like an insistent stream, not strident, but purposeful. It is in fact very much like beat poetry (and not the kind you’re thinking of) at times. What I mean by that is that Yorkston seems to be increasingly disinclined to write choruses. I mean, he still does, but I find myself identifying songs more by the rise and roll of the rhythm, rather than by the lines in the chorus.

It seems somehow symphonic, too. I somehow think of symphonic as different from orchestral – more lilting, less bombastic – but I know I am not using the words in any way literally in so doing. It’s a little grander a sound than the rather too minimal Year of the Leopard, and less traditionally assembled than the glorious Just Beyond the River and Moving Up Country. Between that and the subtly adventurous arrangements, the aforementioned impression that he is really hitting his stride starts to emerge.

As writers of hush-folk go (although Yorkston, like Rob St. John, prefers to be referred to as a writer of pop songs) I am not sure there is anyone better around today. There’s a wonderful gentleness to his music, even when the song itself is about heartbreak, which envelops and comforts you like warm evening darkness. I love this record, and even if you splash out and buy the box set, this is money well worth spending.

James Yorkston – When the Haar Rolls In
James Yorkston – Midnight Feast

Website | More mp3s | Buy from Domino

This little bit of video genius/madness was made by on of our occasional commenters, the splendid Milo, so I thought it just had to be included.  And I thought I was excited!


Unboxing of James Yorkston ‘When The Haar Rolls In’ Boxset from Milo McLaughlin on Vimeo.

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