sun 07/06/2020

CD: King Creosote - Astronaut Meets Appleman | reviews, news & interviews

CD: King Creosote - Astronaut Meets Appleman

CD: King Creosote - Astronaut Meets Appleman

Scottish songwriter tackles the fundamental questions

Kenny Anderson mines an elemental, rather than intellectual, seam

While there will, if there is any justice, be plenty written about King Creosote’s Astronaut Meets Appleman, few will probably state what to me is obvious: this is a really, really sexy record. Now, being Scottish, I’m perhaps predisposed to believe that about anything that features what I can only describe as techno bagpipes - but I defy you to listen, really listen, to the sprawling seven-minute album opener “You Just Want” and not feel at least a little shiver. There’s a creak, a craving, to Kenny Anderson’s always expressive vocals, “can I be him?” almost the only variation on a droning string-led instrumental line and half-gasped female backing vocal.

After From Scotland with Love - Anderson’s ambitious, audiovisual love letter to Scotland’s industrial past, released to coincide with Glasgow’s hosting of the 2014 Commonwealth Games - it’s no surprise to find him mining an elemental, rather than intellectual, seam. Astronaut Meets Appleman pitches itself as exploring the tradition/technology divide, but there’s plenty of space in these nine tracks to address even more fundamental issues: jealousy, longing, star-gazing. But if that all sounds a bit much, the album’s shortest track is a warped semi-lullaby, on which Anderson’s baby daughter repeats the words “Peter Rabbit Tea” until they lose all meaning.

As with the last King Creosote album, Anderson calls on an extensive cast of collaborators to breathe life into his compositions: harp, bagpipes, an entire string section. And yet, as he himself sings, “it’s the silence that somehow says it all” - and those quiet moments tie the album together and give it space to breathe. Like the “astronaut” and the “appleman” of the title: not two things at all but sides of the same coin; a scientist at one with a starry sky, a place called windmill (“Melin Wynt”) in which there are no windmills. The difference between a last minute, and peace at last.


Watch the video for "You Just Want" below

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