King Creosote - From Scotland With Love
Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow
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On paper, a wordless documentary about Scotland’s industrial past set to the music of Fife folkie King Creosote doesn’t really sound magical. But screen it in the old Victorian amphitheatre in Kelvingrove Park, while the soundtrack is brought to life by 15 singers and musicians, and it’s hard to think of a more appropriate description.
The music of From Scotland With Love - written to accompany Virginia Heath’s critically-acclaimed film of the same name - blends so seamlessly with the knit together archive footage of factory workers, schoolchildren, émigrés and holidaymakers that it’s not until about three songs in that you remember there is a live band in front of you.
That song, Miserable Strangers, is one of the album’s most powerful tracks: written from the perspective of emigrants leaving Scotland for a new home overseas it features atmospheric vocals, powerful lyrics and a string part so lush that it makes the heart sing and warms the chilly night.
On stage, a choir of young girls sing skipping rhymes in tandem with those on the big screens, drums keep perfect time with hammer blows and it’s hard to tell whether the sound of a ship launching comes from the tape, or is in fact the band performing some sort of witchcraft.
The stirring Pauper’s Dough, punctuated by the subtle percussion of miners’ picks and the soaring voices of the backing singers on stage, as well as a screen full of striking workers, gets at least one champagne socialist in the crowd on his feet by the chorus. There is joy, too, in the danceable One Night Only and zany Largs - see for yourself when it screens at the Edinburgh International Festival next weekend.
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