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2023/4 Albums Thing 250 - King Creosote “I Des”

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Post #250 in this project which has now slipped into its second year feels like a real milestone. It's therefore appropriate that it's about some new music, well it was released in November 2023 and that's new to me, so let's get on with it shall we...

Xmas and the New Year was over, Deb and me are lounging about with Tom Robinson on BBC 6Music streaming in the background. After him playing a Motown tune (can’t remember what it was) and me bemoaning what happened to 6Music, I thought it was supposed to be the BBC’s “new music” station, Tom played something that made my ears prick up. It was a gentle, beautifully melodic song with lots of pianos and synthesizers washing around in the background. Once it had finished Tom explained it was an excerpt from a 13 minute song (!) called “Please Come Back, I Will Listen, I Will Behave, I Will Toe The Line” from the album “I Des” by King Creosote. Actually he said it was by Kenny Anderson and that it was Kenny’s 50th (!!) studio album.

Now the thought of a 13 minute long song should have put me off, but the bit I heard was so lovely I did some digging around and found that I could stream the whole album on YouTube. I did just that the next morning and three songs in I’d ordered the (Gold) vinyl. Effortlessly melodic songs all of them, with lyrics I can’t wait to dig into, what’s not to love.

King Creosote is/are Kenny Anderson, a singer and songwriter from (The Kingdom of) Fife, just across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh. King Creosote released his/their (?) first album in 1997. Since then he/they have released as few as none and as many as seven albums a year (2021, the lockdown years were productive for Kenny as he released 7 self financed albums on CD-r although most journalists don’t seem to count these, saying his previous album to this was released in 2016). Kenny sings in a gentle, soothing Scottish accent and absolutely has a way with a tune if “I Des” is representative of what he does.

The first two songs, “It's Sin That's Got Its Hold On Us” and “Blue Marbled Elms”, are superb. “It's Sin That's Got Its Hold On Us” begins with distorted tubthumping electronic drums which are joined by an acoustic guitar and strings and finally that soothing Scottish lilt in the vocals. Caveat is I could live without the preacher at the end. “Blue Marbled Elms”, which I believe was the albums first single, has what sounds like what might be a Harmonium droning away (*checks credits* I was right but how do I know what a Harmonium sounds like ?) and Kenny’s vocal is joined by Hannah Fisher’s voice which lifts the whole thing. Third song “Burial Bleak” is sparse, almost hymnal with a real Folk feel to it and it’s dazzling.

Later on “Please Come Back, I Will Listen, I Will Behave, I Will Toe The Line”, an excerpt of which is the first thing I heard, is stunning. I don’t generally have the attention span to stick with songs of 13 minutes in length, they have to be pretty special or have a lot going on and this has both. For around 6 minutes it’s very much in line with the sound of the rest of the record (apart from “Susie Mullen”, an uptempo dance tune which feels incredibly out of place) and then suddenly after a rousing chorus a full on rock band breaks out for a couple of minutes, big drums, electric guitars, squealing synths. Then, just as suddenly, it settles back into something you’ve become more used to before sliding back again into synth washes, haunting girly vocals and tinkling johanna’s for the last couple of minutes. Thanx Mr. Robinson, I love it.

Final piece “Drone In B#” isn’t going to be everyone’s cuppa. It’s a 36 and a half minute instrumental (with the vinyl release it’s a download only extra) that for almost 8 minutes is purely what the title says it is although having listened to it a couple of times there’s Krautrockers out there that will love it. Bizarrely, at around 12 minutes, it’s a little reminiscent of the incidental music toward the end of “Crocodile Dundee II” !

“I Des” feels like electronic folk music (folktronica…is that a thing ?). The musical settings are overwhelmingly electronic but folk instruments and melodies make themselves known and that calming Scottish lilt in Kenny Anderson’s vocals add to the feeling. The first 3 songs are as good as anything I've heard in a long aul time and there is much more later on. Reading back through this I've used the descriptives lovely, soothing, superb, dazzling, stunning, rousing, haunting, calming and of course more than once the one word I've seen applied to this record by many a review I read, and it fits perfectly…it’s beautiful.

Have a listen below, check the album out on YouTube like I did, hopefully you'll be as captivated by it as I have been.

Please Come Back, I Will Listen, I Will Behave, I Will Toe The Line - https://youtu.be/Ln7pTGiIp6Q?si=yT1IEt-tn8yoXgAr

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