Album Review: The Route To The Harmonium by James Yorkston
Great, Based on 4 Critics
Drowned In Sound - 80 Based on rating 8/10
It's been nearly 15 years since James Yorkston engaged the services of Kieran Hebden and released Just Beyond the River. His second, breakthrough and widely considered best album. It's an interesting way to consider it, however, as you could easily argue Yorkston still hasn't really broken through or is even particularly widely considered at all. He's lived a life and career as steady as his music, and that's far from criticism.
While Fife singer-songwriter James Yorkston's first few albums on Domino, beginning with 2002's Moving Up Country, speak of the various complications that come with falling in and out of love, of friendship and the struggles of youth, his last few records have dealt with unforgiving illnesses that threaten and take life, and of the darkness of the soul that death leaves behind. "For I am as brittle as the next man," he sings on Brittle, acknowledging the human frailty that comes about as a result of experiences in later life. The Route To The Harmonium suggests a wiser, more mature Yorkston is emerging.
The Scottish songsmith's first solo album in five years is well worth the wait.
In the five intervening years between 2014's Cellardyke Recording and Wassailing Society and its follow-up, The Route to the Harmonium, James Yorkston recorded two albums as part of the earthy minimalist trio Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, founded an ambitious folk club in his native Fife, and published his ….
Since the release of his criminally overlooked debut in 2002, Moving Up Country, James Yorkston has always written music in reaction to his environments, and always with his heart on his sleeve. This may be why so many of his LPs come off so moody, confessional and uniform.
For his latest, The Route to the Harmonium, the British folkie reacts to the five-year break taken between solo albums spent in Cellardyke, the tiny fishing village that he calls home. Much of Yorkston's eighth record feels just like you'd imagine a small fishing ….