Reunited with producer Des Lawson for a first album since 2016’s Astronaut Meets Appleman, much-loved Fife veteran King Creosote (aka Kenny Anderson) is in prime form on an eclectic set. A long time in the making – the central pairing of Walter de la Nightmare and Susie Mullen come from years-old lyrics rediscovered and burnished into fresh songs – it is worth the wait.
An initial electronic beat on ‘It’s Sin That’s Got Its Hold Upon Us’ recalls his collaborations with Jon Hopkins and the mood continues with synths, drones and more added to Anderson’s traditional storytelling folk – the jarring scratches and chanting that introduce ‘Susie Mullen’ are a particular departure, even if soon backed by bagpipes, while the crackly ambience of ‘Dust’ builds a haunting mood.
The latter opens with one of many standout lyrics on the album, Anderson proclaiming “I am up and awake earlier than I used to fall asleep” – a kindred spirit to ‘Love Is A Curse’ and the couplet: “Getting to sleep’s never been this hard/Waking up again, that’s the worst part.”
Themes of life and death also abound, such as ‘Burial Bleak’’s bold claim that “I’m thinking that maybe dying’s just not for me/ You’ll see how hard I can cling to my life” and on ‘Blue Marbled Elm Trees’, where Anderson acknowledges that should it all end, “I shan’t complain – I’ve had the best time, laughing with my girls”. That sweet simplicity is echoed on the near title track Ides, where he reflects on seeking “someone to lie with on a Tuesday afternoon, let’s say some time around 1 o’clock”.
With eight of the 10 tracks elapsed, there are remarkably still almost 50 minutes remaining on the album – the 13-minute ‘Please Come Back I Will Listen, I Will Behave, I Will Toe The Line’ (to be fair, he’s got to fit the full title in) followed by the 36-minute ‘Drone in B#’ – orphaned on a separate disc in the 2CD edition of the album, or as a download with the vinyl version. Value for money indeed!