By Craig Howieson
On Summer, his first release for Frightened Rabbit’s Andy Monaghan’s Monohands Records, Edingurgh’s Lewis McLaughlin channels the howling echo of Scottish folks’ rich history, and finds a place for it at 2021’s dinner table. Opening with an auto-tuned vocal sample reminiscent of Bon Iver’s 22 (OVER S∞∞N), it spirals into something quite different, but no less rewarding.
As the track grows in depth – as cracks of percussion, fireside piano keys, and spirit lifting fiddle are all layered into the mix – it also grows in stature. What starts out as a glimmer of light closes in a sun baked celestial celebration, relishing the opportunity to have something to revel in at last. Even if that is no more than a few laughs with your mates by the river while the sun shines.
While McLaughlin is clearly well versed in the folk music he has adopted as the spine of his sound, he has avoided the at times bleak outlook that punctuates some of this country’s finest offerings. In fact Summer is an antidote to even the most wretched, wind blasted days to be faced on living on this often unforgiving land and isles. It is a chrysalis of fortune that does not look for solitude but relishes the embrace of others, as evident in the chorus of voices in the track’s second half. Let’s hope McLaughlin will celebrate the good times for a long time to come.
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