James Yorkston Reviews The Singles

Scottish folk singer on Jessie Ware and more...
James Yorkston

Soon to release his new album, ‘The Cellardyke Recording And Wassailing Society’ (again via Domino), Fife-born folk favourite James Yorkston is in charge of this week’s singles reviews.

His new LP features the likes of Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, who also produces, and KT Tunstall, so it’s not like Yorkston doesn’t know good pop when he’s in its presence. Which should serve him well, given this week’s batch of fresh tracks. Read his verdicts right after the video for his own new song, ‘Great Ghosts’.

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Jessie Ware – 'Tough Love'

“Ah, I know of Tuff Love. Is this written about them? These gals, I mean. I think it is. Makes sense with the lyrics. I like this. She’s got good hair, doesn’t she? Jings though, I wouldn't be lying down on the lavender with hair like that, it’d only attract the bugs and the bees. I think she should do a split 7” with Tuff Love. Or they should cover this. Too good an opportunity to miss, surely? 8/10. Get a Lee Perry mix done, too? Lovely voice on this lass.”

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Wild Beasts – ‘Mecca’

“I met these guys once, backstage at End Of The Road. They seemed like decent fellows. Domino sometimes sends me music, you know? They’ve sent me Wild Beast things in the past and I’ve always enjoyed them – they remind me of school discos circa 1985. That’s a good thing, right? The guy’s voice is a favourite of mine, always happy to hear him sing. 8/10 again. I saw them play once in Holland, a great wee show, good tight band.”

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Porter Robinson – 'Lionhearted'

“Strangely enough, I grew up opposite a boy called Porter. When we were eight or nine, we used to catch dogs from the village and take them to the unused quarry down below. People would go mad searching for them, but nobody ever went down those mine shafts – too dangerous. When we'd got a dozen or so dogs we’d release them all at once and the village would have a mad celebration party. It’s good to bring joy to people’s lives.

“When we were 10 though, I locked Porter in the quarry as a joke, meaning to let him out later but when I got home for tea my granddad had had a stroke and we all had to leave at once to see him. As a result, poor old Porter got left in the quarry for almost a week while we travelled to and from West Cork.

“When we got back, I went down to get Porter and he was fine – he’d been eating food that all the dogs had been bringing him – hedgehogs, old crisp packets and such. The police had been called after a while it seems, but nobody suspected me and Porter didn’t grass me up. Good man. He deserves an 8/10 on that alone I reckon.

“But you know, I think this may be a different Porter… Anyway. This song reminds me of those old Stefan Dennis singles and I always had a soft spot for them, they always made me smile.”

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Kiesza – ‘Giant In My Heart’

“Jings, this girl can sing eh? I’m always jealous of voices like this, all those octaves to explore and she’s certainly fleein’ aboot like a cheuk with hers, right enough. Ah, here comes a rapper… Oh hang on, he’s just singing the same bit over and over – still works, though. Works well in fact. I like her hair – it looks like Ted Bovis. I guess that probably wasn’t the look her stylist was going for – but you never know with the kids nowadays, as Hi-De-Hi! might be a big thing. This is my favourite song thus far of this lot. 8.2/10.”

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Young & Sick – ‘Heartache Fetish’

“Let’s see... Good harmonies. I wonder if they’re Auto-Tuned? I hope not. I like this, interesting arrangement. I wonder what their name means? Young & Sick? I guess everyone was sick when they were young at some point, so everyone can relate to the name… A good marketing move. I like the noise in the background that sounds like a skipping hard drive. This is a solid 8/10. Tell you what it reminds me of: the dub remix album Dennis Bovell did of ‘Return Of The Giant Slits’. I love that record. Maybe they should ask Dennis Bovell to remix this?”

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Photo: Steve Gullick

‘The Cellardyke Recording And Wassailing Society’ is released by Domino on August 18th. Find James Yorkston online here

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