Review: James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra – The Wide, Wide River

No matter the year, January is the month for warmth, comfort and things that feel right. This January? You need that in a double dose. This is why it’s so gratifying to welcome James Yorkston back, this time accompanied by The Second Hand Orchestra.

In an album recorded and mixed in just three days, there’s a sense of urgency and familiarity. There are many flashes of inspiration, with touches of The Beatles, Nick Drake, and even, whisper it, Morrissey, (but only his music!) all present, alongside more traditional elements.

The choral collective on ‘Choices, Like Wide Rivers’ blends folk with an almost gospel feel. ‘Struggle’, despite the name, is anything but: it’s a much-needed audio hug. It’s baffling at times that Yorkston isn’t a household name, at least in Scotland. His latest release strengthens his consistency and again offers light and cheer to a musical style which many hold dear but don’t explore.

The Wide, Wide River is released 22nd January via Domino Records


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