Darling Darkness

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This time last year, Peter Kelly (aka Beerjacket) was stealing the show at Celtic Connections' Roaming Roots Revue with a cover of Atlantic City, backed by an ensemble that crammed more personnel on stage than the E Street Band itself. Usually, however, Kelly's stripped-back, wonderfully melodic Beerjacket output is a more affectingly intimate experience. Second studio album Darling Darkness picks up from where 2011's The White Feather Trail left off, filling out the space between Kelly's voice and guitar with soft backing vocals by Louise Connell (Reverieme) and Julia Doogan, and additional playing by producer Stuart MacLeod. The footstomp heartbeat of Antlers is the perfect antidote to that stagnant Mumford sound; Two Travel slips in and out of minor chords as Kelly shifts his writing up a gear; End Of The Day even has an echo of Morrissey and Marr about it. This is folk music with roots in the 1960s, but it is never copycat or backward-looking: Kelly sits at the modern end of a long tradition, writing songs that would be equally at home in Greenwich Village or on the T Break stage.

Alan Morrison