Now in its tenth year of existence, Ritchie Young’s Loch Lomond project has grown and receded through many guises, moving from solo beginnings to become a revolving, multi-headed ensemble with a small orchestra of instruments at its disposal. Fourth album Dresses (Loch Lomond’s second for Chemikal Underground) seems to wheel out every one of them, though never gratuitously; rather, this elegant collection elicits emotions through restraint, deploying strings, brass and the like with moderation.
For the most part, Young’s powerful vocals remain forefront, imbuing songs like Virgin Mountain with a persuasive drama. But credit is claimed just as surely by others present – not least longstanding member Jason Leonard, whose ambient lap steel interludes boost the record’s pronounced cinematic beauty. Other highlights include the haunting choral harmonies of atmospheric opener Bells and the closing trumpet calls of Black Dresses, which supply the record with one final lift to the heavens – a fitting residence. [Chris Buckle]