An album pre-occupied with the beauty of nature and the struggles of love...
'Astronaut Meets Appleman'

With the album’s rambling, celestial opener 'You Just Want', King Creosote sets the backdrop for a record of two halves, with one foot in analogue ideals and the other in digital necessity.

Indeed, the lyrics match this duality - pitched at the half-way point between loved-up bliss and uneasy bickering. “When you just want someone for their being and not so much for their brains – can I be him?” he pleads.

This romantic uncertainty bleeds over to the second track, 'Melin Wynt', christened after a tiny Welsh hamlet, that showcases a surprisingly harmonious marriage between bagpipes and cello.

Lyrically, he’s left behind the artsy trickery that characterised 2011’s 'Diamond Mine', leaving us in more open, intimate terrain.

But in spite of this straight-shooting approach, there’s still a killer line for almost every track. “Her jealous accusations know no doubts / Scarlett Johansen was never in the house,” he remarks, on the disarmingly poppy 'Love Life'.

It’s somewhat lacking in the charm that made its luminous predecessor, 2014’s 'From Scotland, With Love', such an exceptional collection of songs. But there are moments of beauty and vulnerability here too, like Peter Rabbit Tea, which sets the sleepy murmurs of his baby daughter to hushed, lyrical strings.

And for all of the easy, folky familiarity on 'Astronaut...' it remains charged with Creosote’s undisputed songwriting skill. It’s an album pre-occupied with the beauty of nature and the struggles of love. It retains the witticism and humble poetry that saw him crowned the beloved laureate of Fife, but there’s just a little bit of magic missing.

7/10

Words: Marianne Gallagher

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