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Adrian Crowley & James Yorkston: My Yoke Is Heavy (Chemikal Underground)

Whatever your take on outsider musician Daniel Johnston, there is no arguing with the breadth and depth of his fan club, the late Kurt Cobain, Tom Waits and just about the entire US indie rock firmament being among those to whom Johnston's canon represents the holy grail of guileless pop wonder.

In this context the merits of an eight-song homage, re-released four years after its ultra-limited first appearance, might appear questionable. Does Johnston's reputation need further burnishing? 

My Yoke Is Heavy sidesteps the issue by making the artistic case both for the singers and the songs independent of their wider cultural merit, this Irish/Scottish duo's suitably lo-fi approach to the vulnerability within the base material conjuring a rainbow of joys.

Walking The Cow, tenderly crooned by Adrian Crowley, nearly collapses under the weight of its prettiness, while the Galway troubadour subverts the optimism of The Sun Shines Down On Me by recasting it as a hushed nocturne. The more animated contribution of James Yorkston, meanwhile, adds an air of campfire sing-song to Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Grievances, with a flinty meander through the title track providing a modicum of balance.

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