Leeds Music Scene

Before The Ruin by Various Artists

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Reviewed on 6th May 2009.


Before The Ruin

By Various Artists

If you have ever heard any of Roddy Woomble, Kris Drever, or John McCusker's solo work then this album should sound like a super-group of Scottish folk songwriters. Unfortunately, it is not quite that spectacular. It is, however, a well-worked and enjoyable record. The familiar folk sound, which is a definite progression from previous works by these three talented songwriters, is a pleasant blend of 'easy to listen to' songs that provide a perfect backdrop for a Sunday morning hangover or just a relaxed evening.

From the opening track, 'Silver and Gold,' Drever's intricate guitar delicately weaves this Scottish album into a tartan blanket of peaceful songs. Initially it can be quite slow and dull, but after a few listens you gradually begin to appreciate the calm and composed tone.

With the variety of instruments that this record is equipped with, the diverse sound makes it more interesting than any of the three men's solo efforts. Fully equipped with many weapons of folk, some of which are included are fiddles, citterns and of course, accordions. Despite such variety it does remain quite a basic folk album and has the peaceful effect it aims to achieve.

Roddy Woomble's voice is extremely fitting for these songs as seen on his debut solo effort, but it is when Drever's vocals enter in 'Rest on the Rock' that you're left pleasantly surprised, with soothing harmonies that set the calming tone of the record. Similarly, 'The Poorest Company' is an emotional, melancholic song that evokes the true passion in these three fine songwriters.

Although 'Before the Ruin' can often be a bit repetitive, it does have its moments. One of the main tracks, 'Into the Ruin,' is a warm melodic song that stands out as one of the many fine melodies that decorate these songs.

'Before the Ruin' is a collaboration of three of Britain's finest songwriters and the end product is a pleasant mixture of peaceful folk that, although at times is quite basic, proves itself as an enjoyable listen.



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John McCusker