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Review: 'Starless'

-  Label: 'Last Night From Glasgow'
-  Genre: 'Folk' -  Release Date: '29.5.20.'-  Catalogue No: 'LNFG35'

Our Rating:
Starless is the latest project from Paul McGeechan who you may know from his time in Friends Again or Love & Money or for his production work for everyone from Capercaille to Pavarotti and Beyonce and beyond. This is Starless second album and features several guest vocalists.

The album comes in a beautiful gatefold sleeve with some very fine artwork that makes getting the Vinyl far more worthwhile than the download version.

The album opens with Long Bhriseadh that has a classical intro with lush strings and orchestration a very subtle peaceful and beautiful piece of traditional Scottish music.

The first version of Ailein Dunn Is a gentle song with fragile vocals from Karliene that's sung in Gaelic I think with sweeping strings gently caressing the listener.

Paper is sung by Emma Pollock from The Delgados it's sung over a sparse piano intro that opens out into a glorious slow building song with more lush orchestration accentuating the story in the lyrics.

Breakdown opens with the speaking clock and some atmospherics before Steven Lindsay from The Big Dish's vocals come in to tell us just what kind of breakdown he's going through with dramatic punctuation from the string section of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

Spellbound goes quietly magical as Chris Thomson of Friends Again vocals come in on this sparse almost Tindersticks style song with full on sweeping orchestration.

Glittering Light is a slow dawn string fade in as Jerry Burns brings her bruised vocals to add more beauty to this already rather pretty tune.

The B-side opens with Settling Mist a very early morning, waking up gently, piece whose beauty is adorned by Silvia Ramon Gerard's almost textural background vocals.

Chase The Devil is a gloriously beautiful evocation by Marie Clare Lee of what sounds like the most magical of highs as this builds to its climax.

Cridhe Aingeal is a piano led interlude that leads into Somewhere In the Night that has Steven Lindsay singing about some dark events among the lush strings and piano that soothe away the pain.

Sea Shanty No 2 (Wish You Were here) features Graham Skinner from Hipsway softly singing this very un-shanty like sea Shanty, it is windswept and rather romantically glorious.

Calvary is a slow strummed story song with Chris Thomson as narrator as the story of Calvary and who goes on the cross unfolds with Chris singing from Jesus' point of view as he gets put on the cross, it's moving and rather elegiac.

The album closes with Ailein Duinn 1957 with Julie Fowlis singing this traditional Scottish song with a sparser arrangement but still very beautiful and moving end to a wonderful album. I wish I knew what the morse code at the end of the song spells out before it ends in a locked groove that repeats the word Star endlessly. This also makes this only the third record I can think of in my collection with a locked groove ending joining Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music and Lee Ranaldo's From Here To Infinity in that rather small club.

This album is a must here as far as I'm concerned a wonderfully beautiful album find out more here https://www.lastnightfromglasgow.com/artists/starless/ https://www.facebook.com/Starless-1599802900268447/
  author: simonovitch

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