Martin John Henry, The Other Half Of Everything

(Gargleblast Records)

ACROSS 11 imperfect yet meticulously crafted songs the former frontman of Lanarkshire outfit De Rosa jettisons his past and paves a future where reverie, rhapsody and a defiantly Caledonian sense of ruggedness converge with devastating results. Sounds hyperbolic? Whatever. The Other Half Of Everything is that good. The fact it follows a skyward arc – musically if not lyrically, this being another missive from the Wounded Scottish Male Psyche (cf Arab Strap, King Creosote, Twilight Sad et al) – is a bonus. Electronics dominate Breathing Space and Span before more songwriterly colours – flinty greys, blues, greens; the odd shaft of yolky yellow – start to bleed through the canvas from I Love Map onwards. From there on, moods ebb and flow from remorseful to righteous with strings, brushed cymbals, a quasi gamelan and more typical indie-rock anchors. If pushed, you could say Only Colour – all blood, bone and brochs – A Perfect Landing and the suitably ghostly closer There’s A Phantom Hiding In My Loft stand millimetres above their counterparts. While this is music as art and destined for a niche audience, it has a pop pulse that’s all too rare in the moraine of so-called leftfield music.

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Sean Guthrie