This record has sort of dropped into my lap out of nowhere, and I’ve spent a long time listening to it before writing this review. It has a somewhat sprawling feel, despite being only three-quarters of an hour long, but that’s because it’s composed of twenty-one snippets of ideas, sprinkled through with digressions and interludes, and barely alights on any one thing long enough to pause for breath before veering off to sniff around something new.
It’s an album straight out of Fife, I have to confess. I get annoyed with these generalisations myself, but when you think of the confessional, rough and slightly oblique take on low-fi music which has clustered around Fence Records in recent years, this record sounds very much at home in these surroundings.
The Complicated Honest Truth is a distinctively Scottish title, and the album itself has that archetypal tendency to turn relationship failure and everyday disappointment into something optimistic and oddly chipper. It’s like there’s a grim enjoyment of the misery in the humour because, well, it’s dark, rainy and shit here so why not get pished and rip the shit out of our ordinariness.
For all the really good bits on this album, there are nevertheless patches where I think it loses its way a little; where the succession of thoughts lurches a little too much, and sometimes when the songs themselves perhaps don’t capture the rough sparkle of some of their immediate neighbours, and there is a slight tendency for the low-fi production to bog things down just a little.
This isn’t the case all that much however, and the plucking on the superb Girl Bites Boy and the bizarre but splendid piano at the beginning of You Are All (above), and the abrupt flatline transition between songs later on show a musician with a knack for bringing unusual sounds into a meandering ramble, and using these sonic interruptions to crack the texture of the album enough to make sure that everything is absorbed.
Scott has already received considerable plaudits for his previous album, I’m Not Angry, it’s Just You Broke My Heart, but this is the first I’d heard of him, and I’m glad I did.
(The album should be available to buy here – it’s announced as released – but I can’t find the link, so good luck.)