The Scottish singer’s garlanded 2017 album, A Pocket of Wind Resistance, is a hard act to follow. A companion piece to a theatrical show (now a book), it’s part memoir, part eco-meditation, part songbook and part spoken word. Laws of Motion draws on more disparate inspirations. The Midlothian moors still brood and the North Sea mists still swirl, but Suitcase is about child refugees from Nazi Europe, while Matsuo’s Welcome to Muckhart concerns a Japanese gardener who came to Scotland after losing his family in a 1923 earthquake. Then there’s her verdict on Donald Trump, voiced by the spirit of Lewis, birthplace of his mother, which passes righteous judgment against its “lost boy” who has “stacked hopes into a pyre”.
Compassion is the thread that runs through the songs; there in a title track about migration co-written with Lau’s Martin Green and Sydney Carter’s anti-war The Crow on the Cradle. Polwart’s clear, bell-like vocals have a narrator’s ease and brother Steven (guitar) and Inge Thomson (accordion and more) supply atmosphere. Revisiting her childhood terror of nuclear war (“Protect and Survive” et al) is perhaps fighting yesterday’s battles; otherwise, a flawless outing.Continue reading...
Sun Oct 14 09:00:13 CEST 2018