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King Creosote - Kenny And Beth's Musakal Boat Rides

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Artist: King Creosote

Album: Kenny And Beth's Musakal Boat Rides

Label: Domino

Review date: Jan. 12, 2004

The rolling green hills of Fife have given rise to another bairn of whom it can be justifiably proud, one Kenny Anderson a.k.a. King Creosote. Following on from fine debuts by James Yorkston and the Lone Pigeon (who is none other than Kenny’s brother, Gordon), this little Scottish Kingdom, under the umbrella of the burgeoning Fence Collective, have added another diamond to its crown – Kenny and Beth’s Musakal Boat Rides, not so much a debut album as a collection of the King’s finest, mostly home recorded, tunes dating from 1995 (his coronation date) to the present day and previously to be found only on assorted and scattered CD-Rs and singles.

Ably assisted by an assortment of friends and family, core collective members James Yorkston and Pip Dylan among them, Anderson has succeeded in conjuring up the sounds and atmosphere of rural Scotland (I used to live in Fife), combining traditional folk mainstays, the strum of acoustic guitars accompanying soft, plaintive, distinctly accented vocals alongside more contemporary flourishes and even samples (“So Forlorn” features snippets of Funkadelic alongside delicate finger-picked acoustic strings, without seeming incongruous – is this truly “folkadelica”?). Stripped down, without a hint of superfluity, these songs leave room aplenty for notes and words to breathe, for the imagination to pick up the story where the resonation stops.

This album is more insular looking than, say, Yorkston’s Moving Up Country, which still has one keen eye peering out onto the big wide world. This is not to make a judgment on the merits of one over the other, but merely to observe that this selection offers a more distinctly authentic home-cooked flavor, especially on tunes such as “Harper’s Dough” and the quite Drake-like “Lavender Moon.” The journeys on Kenny and Berth’s Musakal Boat Rides” encompass some fairly maudlin waters, but without ever becoming entrenched in the realms of despairing histrionics and pantomime which so often plague the work of certain purveyors of this style of music.

By Spencer Grady

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