Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: James Yorkston – I Was A Cat From A Book

James Yorkston’s latest album ‘I Was A Cat From A Book’ features guest appearances from the likes of Kathryn Williams and Sparrow & The Workshop’s Jill O’Sullivan.  The folk veteran’s seventh solo album contains 11 songs of sorrow unfurled at an ambling pace.  The results are somewhat bland and forgettable; rarely demanding the attention of the listener. 
Yorkston’s talent is never in doubt though; each song is delicately presented with obvious attention to detail as a vast array of instrumentation weaves gently in and out of the album. The problem is the results are more akin to the half-baked ‘Green Fields of Foreverland’ by The Gentle Waves than Belle and Sebastian or anything substantial in folk’s illustrious past or even Yorkston’s for that matter.

Opener Catch is almost too apologetic. Likewise, Two is just too subdued. Yorkston is at his best with a shot of adrenalin rushing through his veins. See songs such as Border Song for evidence; Its folk cacophony shines brightly above most of the songs on the album. Spanish Ants is also an enjoyable jaunty affair.
The Line Says is the finest ballad on the album by some distance; its lyrics and music combining perfectly to create I Was A Cat From A Book’s moment of folk authenticity. Yorkston’s voice is never more believable and the emotion he conveys never more palpable.

‘I Was A Cat From A Book’ would have been one of the years finest EP’s had lesser songs been sacrificed for the good of the collection as a whole. Thankfully the album ends on a high with I Can Take All This where Yorkston finally lets loose and spits in our eyes with quick-fire lyrics and an I’ll show you resolve.

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