Lau – Midnight and Closedown

Scottish trad music supergroup Lau return with their 'Brexit album' Midnight and Closedown, a shining beacon of hope in our hazy present

Album Review by Max Sefton | 06 Feb 2019
  • Lau – Midnight and Closedown
Album title: Midnight and Closedown
Artist: Lau
Label: Reveal Records
Release date: 8 Feb

Midnight and Closedown is the fifth album from traditional music trio Lau. Renowned for pushing at the boundaries of folk music, the record – which takes its name from Seamus Heaney’s The Shipping Forecast – sees Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O'Rourke musing on the afflictions of our time over some of their most timeless music.

Produced by John Parish, it captures the intimate traditions of folk music against queasy lyrics that tease out the discontent and isolation of the modern world. Drever has described the songs as being "about islands... big islands and little islands and human islands", while O'Rourke has been even more blunt: "We wanted to make a Brexit album." These sentiments are rarely so on the nose but from the haunting fiddle of Echolalia to the glitch rhythms that underpin Return to Portland, these are songs that know how to subtly unsettle.

The smudged fingers on Dark Secret and the gorgeous acoustic closer Riad are intimate moments, beckoning the listener inside with camaraderie and tenderness, and Toy Tigers is as close as the group have ever come to a singalong, as they float over a shimmering electronic backdrop. If our collective future is hazy, Lau are a shining beacon lighting the way.

Listen to: Echolalia, Toy Tigers