Wednesday, March 30, 2016

James Yorkston - The Year of The Leopard

James Yorkston's third album, released in 2006, is mellow even for him.  Minus his band the Athletes this time, it opens with the rolling acoustic guitars of Summer Song.  Like a lot of the songs here, it sounds like nothing much at first, but with a few listens embeds itself into your brain.  The title track is very sparse, at first just Yorkston and his guitar before he's joined by Jenny Casino on backing vocals, with a touch of clarinet here and there.  The atmosphere conjured up here is lazy and blissful.

Woozy With Cider is the centrepiece here by virtue of its otherworldly sounding keyboards.  It's a simple spoken word piece, Yorkston telling a charming tale of a drunken wedding and chatting up a barmaid ("I bet she'd change her tune if I told her my album had peaked at number 172").  The rest of the album is mellow folk punctuated by clarinet, mandolin, violin, bouzouki and harmonium, but never too much of any element, allowing Yorkston's voice and guitar to come to the foreground.