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Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire
Album: Swithering
Label: Middle Of Nowhere
Tracks: 12

To Swither - is Scots slang - to be uncertain as to which course of action to choose.

And it's an apt title for Scottish singer-songwriter Roddy Hart's latest offering. Twelve tracks impeccably produced by Paul Savage that follow many twists and turns on this latest journey.

At times, the production is sparse - drums and bass and vocals - and at times full on as the The Lonesome Fire burn brightly.

The songwriting is confident and precise. The singing is clear and nuanced.

The sound does have a sense of Scottish swagger about it, which is no bad thing.

The opening track Tiny Miracles, is a lush production taste of what's to come.

Staccato guitar punctuates a rich keyboard-driven sound with drums high in the mix to great effect.

Berlin is more sparse with drums still propelling everything all quite nicely. The sound is reminiscent of, dare I say it, Aztec Camera, Deacon Blue and even earlier, Simple Minds.

That is not to say this is an album rooted in the past. Far from it, this a fresh sounding album packed with inventive songs that have echoes from the past but are very much for the here and now.

The quirky Low Light features a thumping bass-line, No Monsters is a quiet, reflective song with a subtle piano-led accompaniment and a percussive approach and Violet, is another beautifully crafted gentle piece.

The waltz-like Dreamt You Were Mine kicks off with insistent guitar before exploding into life. A storming track.

The sparse Faint Echo of Loneliness features the great line - "you are the blues still in my blood" and just one of many great lines throughout this strong album.

Normally I'm not a big fan of the overblown 80's-style production but you can't help be impressed with the production found here. In the Arms of California is one such number- packed full of lush vocals.

But this is nothing compared to the pared back production of I Thought I Could Change Your Mind, a great brooding song.

This is most certainly an album that swithers - the up front Strange Addictions is followed by the longest track Sliding before concluding with We're The Immortals, with it's organ-fused intro and industrial drums and grungy ending.

This is an excellent collection of songs, with song-writing of the highest calibre and the fact it swithers is just fine by me.

John Knighton