The Scottish Enlightenment – St Thomas

A doughty, worthy work: as its title suggests there’s an air of faith in the music (the band are described in the press release as Scotland’s most subterranean, ecclesiastical rock band, and I’m not sure it’s a joke, and the LP’s sleeve notes are pretty wordy too). St Thomas is a patient, unhurried set of songs (the 11 tracks hardly break sweat in terms of tempo, and they’re not one minute wonders either), and there’s an unspoken demand that the listener gives the record time. Which is quite an ask in these tense, box-ticking times. Especially with tracks that set their stall out as slowly and methodically as on the Taxidermy of Love or The Soft Place, which stumbles about for 3 minutes before shaking off its stupor.

However, the melodies are sublime in places and the vocals (often delivered in a soft burr) have a very pleasing sense of occasion. Little Sleep is a grand track, half lament, half call to arms. My Bible builds solidly with the aid of a determined piano riff towards a dramatic guitar-laden crescendo: (it’s got a hint of I Like Trains’ dramatic melancholy about it). And Necromancer is as moody as its title suggests though it possesses a cracking echoing guitar lick and a lovely vocal pay-off.

This is a record that will fill the nooks and crannies and catch you unawares. Just don’t expect it to sit up and beg for attention.