Robin Denselow
Thursday 9 August 2012 

Here's further proof that Karine Polwart (above) is one of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain today. Over the last few years she has expanded her range, and her audience, through her involvement with the excellent (mostly) Scottish folk supergroup the Burns Unit and the Darwin Song Project, and now comes an ambitious and confident new solo set in which her songs range from the personal to the epic and atmospheric. Polwart has a cool, thoughtful and at times powerful voice, but it's the lyrics that make her special. Like many writers who emerged from the folk scene, she is fascinated by history, and there's a grand sweep of ideas in many of the songs, with King of Birds examining the history of the City of London, and the gently furious Cover Your Eyes mixing childhood memories with an attack on the Trump Corporation golf development in Aberdeenshire. Elsewhere she mixes the lyrical and dramatic on Don't Worry, in which she sounds like a Scottish female answer to Peter Gabriel, while the most poignant songs deal with the deaths of a young cousin and a child. The backing is at times over-lush, but this is a brave, highly original set.