Created in situe, on the wild Scottish coast to reflect the natural environment all around, ‘Haum’ is the new album release from Salt House. The trio comprise Ewan MacPherson (of legendary Scottish outfit Shooglenifty), Jenny Sturgeon (a Singer/guitarist/harmonium player who also has a PHD in seabirds) and Lauren MacColl (BBC Young Folk Award winning fiddler/ viola player). They’ve also teamed-up with Scottish Highlands charity: Trees For Life, to help offset the carbon footprint of the record.
Serene images of glass-like lochs come to mind as ‘Fire Light’ begins to kick off this album. If you’ve ever needed to feel at home, look no further than this perpetually comforting opener. Never underestimate the power of local folk feels to re-ignite your soul.
If ever we needed to feel more connected it would be now and in this carefully crafted masterpiece, we hear the mention of the likes of brambles in ‘All Shall Be Still’. It maintains that beautiful potential that folk tunes have to feel raw, while still delivering a very polished piece. Fiddles and drones set the story line in ‘Mountain of Gold’, reminiscent of a wee bothy ballad from the archives of Scotland’s songs. It’s a moment-to-moment chills-up-your-spine maker. Earthy tones reflect off of ethereal, shimmering vocal notes that heighten every one of your senses. Akin to this, ‘William and Elsie’ is another tale to behold, so wonderfully filled with repeated features and mystical teasers.
Proving their talents through a cracking acapella exposition sees the awakening of ‘Hope Is The Thing With Feathers’. Hinging on simplicity, it’s a short number that poises on top of picked notes that frame out like a musical scaffold. Beauty is the word that keeps coming to mind as I listen to this album on replay. The difficulty I find in articulating what I’m listening to is due to the capacity for Salt House to create that feeling you get when you watch a sunset go down over the best day of your life. It meanders from formidable joy to deep sombre waves of melancholic longing.
The female vocals could not be more perfect for such tunes though. Every track that kicks off with them knocks on the door of my patriotic soul. Such is the case in ‘Lord Ullins Daughter’. You’ll lose yourself in the grandeur encapsulating this album. Things begin to taper down rolling into ‘The Disquiet’ and then ‘The Same Land’. Painted to a heathery temper, given life through every note and sustained undertone, the final tracks of this piece accumulate to provide more than many an album I’ve come to hear of late. Their reinvigoration of all things undiscovered is a pleasant discovery.
Twitter – @SaltHouseMusic