Kathryn Joseph

Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I've Spilled

(Hits The Fan)

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Enigmatic singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph has already appeared on a couple of Scottish ones-to-watch lists for 2015 (by Nicola Meighan here in The Herald and Vic Galloway in the Sunday Herald). And with good reason, because there's something haunting and utterly compelling about this debut.

In an attempt to fix reference points, Joanna Newsom and Antony Hegarty are the obvious names to drop, although I'd go off-map for opening track The Bird (currently an obsession of mine) and suggest Billie Holiday stepping in for early Kate Bush.

On first listen, the songs seem simple enough. Piano parts, often recorded live with ambient pedal/keyboard squeaks, consist of gently sequenced chords, two-note vamps and left-hand arpeggios set against brief right-hand melodies, while subtle percussion affects the delicate moods. Then there's that voice, somewhere in the middle distance, husky and fractionally behind the beat, a knife-edge whisper with rapid-fire vibrato.

As a whole, the album is a completely enveloping experience, a fragile and idiosyncratic musical vision drowned in minor keys. Joseph will make a few rare live appearances in the coming week, beginning at Glasgow's Pipe Factory on Saturday, then Edinburgh's Assembly Roxy on Sunday, with Aberdeen (Monday) and Inverness (Tuesday) to follow.