Alasdair Roberts - Spoils

Album Review by Chris Buckle | 15 Apr 2009
  • Alasdair Roberts - Spoils
Album title: Spoils
Artist: Alasdair Roberts
Label: Drag City
Release date: 27 Apr

On first listen, Spoils sounds like a faithful revival of traditional old Scots songsmithery and not a whole lot more. Only after several spins does the innovation at the heart of Alasdair Roberts' fourth album reveal itself, and you realise how anachronistic songs like Ned Ludd’s Rant (For A World Rebarbarised) would actually sound echoing round a highland bothy in days of yore (and not just because of its faint feedback). The inspirational font from which he sips may be ancient, but this is no mere musical history lesson. Songs like Unyoked Oxen Turn’s gentle canter and the mellow electric guitar in Hazel Forks crackle with a modern vitality that combines the expected instrumentation - fiddle, hurdy gurdy, harmonium etc. - with those less commonly heard in the folk context such as the subtle synthesiser undercurrent of You Muses Assist. The result is far more than a niche concern.

Playing the Tolbooth, Stirling with Pumajaw on 28 Mar and Avalanche Records, Glasgow on 18 Apr as part of Record Store Day.