Robin Laing

Robin Laing - Ebb and Flow
Whistleberry Music – WHISTLEBERRYCD001

This is a pared down, minimalist offering from this stalwart of the Scottish scene, nowadays increasingly touring further afield. In fact much this album is reminiscent of his first album (frightening to think that was all of sixteen years ago). Those of us familiar with Laing’s work will feel at home with his ‘variations on familiar themes’ style of songwriting – there’s his fourth Ulysses song (is he angling for a musical?), another drinking motif (black coffee this time – a sign of age perhaps?) and tender love songs. A new theme is Covenanters – and important time in Scottish history strangely neglected from the foot soldier’s viewpoint previously.

Other perennial delights are witnessing his occasional trauma of trying to squeeze totally inappropriate numbers of syllables into lines (and ultimately pulling it off – sign of a true pro’) – and rhymes (‘hand’ with ‘can’ and ‘man’, ‘bone’ with ‘home’). We can forgive these foibles and celebrate this intimate celebration of Laing’s maturing talent – like a familiar aging malt whisky. If you haven’t tasted it before, give this latest distillation of pure velvet a try. Don’t expect heavily produced, big band, huge production values. These are delicate gems, sensitively produced and backed by David Scott whose guitar and keyboard skills are woven through this album like silver threads.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 64 of The Living Tradition magazine.