The folk singer’s live performance of his From Scotland With Love soundtrack is a moving evocation of lives long lost, writes Mark Beaumont
If prolific Fife folk singer King Creosote’s last major collaboration, with Jon Hopkins on Diamond Mine in 2011, earned him a Mercury prize nomination, his new one should win garlands from Scotland’s pro-independence lobby. From Scotland With Love, an audio-visual project for the cultural festival that accompanied Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, had director Virginia Heath scouring the Scottish Screen Archive for footage of mid-20th-century life and industry. Creosote (AKA Kenny Anderson) then wrote a soundtrack of songs for the documentary, inventing lives and stories around these grainy faces snatched from history.
Played in full along to the 90-minute film, an old world gleams anew. Antique double-decker trams traverse the monochrome streets of Partick to the strains of a winsome accordion. Flat-capped shipbuilders hammer out the support struts of transport ships to a pounding drumbeat. There’s even, set to a stirring Celtic crescendo, rare black-and-white footage of Scottish football fans celebrating.
Despite looking like he’s been dragged backwards through Shane McGowan’s duck pond, Creosote and his chamber-folk band infuse these silent characters and far-away scenes with sumptuous, featherlight melody and a sympathetic grace [ . . . ]
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