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King Creosote - Flick The Vs

A welcome return indeed for this Fence Collective animal, an indie stalwart whom, inevitably, many will be hoping to hold close.

Collapsing into the folds of the bellows is easily done when they are as lushly involving as those on ‘Rims’, the penultimate track on King Creosote’s latest full-length venture. A ramshackle mix of soothing harmonies and part-oompah, part-chugging beat, it’s first half is entirely the remote eastern Scottish dwelling from where this central figure hails. However, you hit the three-minute marker, and a far jerkier, more techno influenced rhythm takes hold. If you dissect just one minute from the song that spans this particular section, you find the essence of ‘Flick The Vs’.

Undecidedly brittle prior to this, KC flicks between forthcoming krautrock as on ‘No One Had It Better’, and the whispery embarrassment of ‘Curtain Craft’: and fortunately it never becomes a trick flashing it’s lights up ahead. The sublime ‘Two Frocks At A Wedding’ has the vocal pitched somewhere between the intonations of label mate Eugene McGuiness and the ever-called-ethereal Anthony Heggarty. It helps in comparison to the latter that the song references men dressed as women, trotting their heels around ‘the homophobic town’. The buzzing beneath reveals a somewhat deranged bagpipe, once again proving that those comfortable in their own skins and steeped in their cultural signifiers are more than happy to chuck their bits about.

‘Camels Swapped For Wives’ is far more conventional in this sense, if such a thing can be said by KC, criss-crossing 4/4 folk stomp with some flashier clarinet. Having proclaimed in the opener, and previously mentioned, ‘No One Had It Better’ that “King Creosote Rules OK?” there is rightly no shadow of doubt cast on these ten tracks. That’s not to say there aren’t times of challenge – as on ‘Fell An Ox’ – where the sparse, almost kaleidoscopic palette beneath a soulful voice could quite easily be mistaken for the group warming up. Likewise is the dramatically over-spilling ‘Nothing Rings True’ where sparkling midnight pianos and deftly touched strings fall over one another.

Sat next to these is the almost-Doves ‘Pounding’ insistence of ‘Coast On By’ it’s practically avant-garde. In an entirely unaffected way, the song includes the forked tongue of KC, often colourful but not to detract from the central merging of sound and drive and mood. Exemplary of this is ‘Curtain Craft’ with its well-oiled acoustic and timid vocal, vastly outweighed by the minimal, but gorgeous, clarinet which adds a nostalgic French evening feel to an otherwise very British nosiness lament.

Kicking up decidedly old tricks with new verve is no small endeavour, and potentially why KC has been in somewhere wilderness for the last three years. So a welcome return indeed for this Fence Collective animal, an indie stalwart whom, inevitably, many will be hoping to hold close. By bearing an album of impressive riches – the faithful will be praying their treasure isn’t such that the greedy masses come too close to thieving.

Tags: King Creosote, Reviews, Album Reviews

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