Another day, another genre. I’ve lost count of trainspotter level categorisation of the many types and forms of music. Hey, the shit either works or it doesn’t as they would most likely say in a New York cop drama. Before I hit my head with a toffee hammer again, let’s try some Scottish nu-folk from Findlay Napier & The Bar Room Mountaineers.
I’m not entirely sure what nu-folk is supposed to be but it, apart from a bit of the old fiddle, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with Highland Clearances, boats from Liverpool or Aran sweaters generally. In fact, judging from the good Mr Napier’s album “File Under Fiction”, it has more to do with raising the IQ of Scottish song writing whilst cleverly packaging it as a descendant of luminaries of Deacon Blue or even the Blue Nile. It’s a worrying thing to say but he might just be too good for the mass market.
You won’t find me complaining about the spirited use of a Scottish accent in an enclosed space – as happens here – when that accent uses its parochial disguise to reflect on that greatest source of inspiration for any sort of music. That would be women, by the way (but you knew that, I hope?). Don’t get me wrong for this isn’t a relationship management kit. No, it’s a confident, and eminently melodic, look at the foibles of dealing with someone that doesn’t need a gun to be dangerous. Whether driven to drink (“One For The Ditch”), the long goodbye (“Don’t Look In My Eyes”) or the bleakness of confused inadequacy (“Heels Over Head”), the mark gets squarely hit every time. Perhaps surprisingly, there is little in the way of misogyny to be found in the words with the affection for the subject bringing much in the way of humour. That is indeed the way of a proper storyteller.
Ok, standout track time. There was a lot of competition here – as you might have guessed by now – but the winner had to “Cut Me Off” that started with a fiddle, overdosed on black humour and even managed to squeeze in a mention of Facebook. It’s obsession summed up in 3 minutes and 55 seconds and it’s more rock ‘n’ roll than fifty shitty indie rock bands. Fact!
If you haven’t been there then you’ll want to be after hearing this album and it grieves me to say it – especially given my notorious cynicism - but this is a quality album.