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The Last Battle Lay Your Burden Down (thelastbattlemusic.bandcamp.com)

It opens to the kind of triumphant rock beat patented by the E Street Band's Max Weinberg (and even slips in a hint of Danny Federici's organ chords) but there's more New Town than New Jersey about Edinburgh's The Last Battle.

They've released a fair few EPs and singles since 2010 album Heart Of The Land, Soul Of The Sea, but none prepared the listener for the impressive leap forward this new long-player delivers in terms of writing and arrangements. You can still hear the influence of King Creosote in the shape of the songs and Admiral Fallow in the shared male/female vocals, but given the African leanings of You And Me or the lopsided waltz of Breathe Bones (with shades of Kate Bush's Army Dreamers in its adventurous rhythm and melody), this band can no longer be carelessly categorised as simple indie-folk. Perfecting The Art (Of Saying Nothing) is a case in point: gorgeous harmonies, lovely violin solo, close control of the snare drum that opens into a heart-swelling climax. This is wonderful music-making in anyone's book.

Alan Morrison

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