Scottish folk rocker Iain Morrison returned this year with two EP’s rather than one long album. EP’s seem to be more the rage with smaller indie artists these days. “3am” marks a release that is far more rockier than his previous albums and EP’s. The electric guitar is cranked up and Iain seems more raucous than ever.
The signal is clear from the opening of “Walk Lightly” as guitar chord patterns clash over each other. Iain’s voice has a weathered and worn tone and croak to it which is perfect for folk music – he could read out a takeaway menu and I’d assume it was full of wisdom. When he gets rocking though, his voice is superb too as the roughness becomes a strained pleaful moan. “Earth and the Dirt” is a builder of a track. Starting quiet and poised, it slowly uncoils into a thrashing rock track. It’s transformation over the four minutes is superb. Title track “3am” is the acoustic quiet moment on the album full of Morrison’s typical folk charm, lilting strings and simple guitar. “Eona” then takes me right back to his most recent album. It’s a symphony of guitar, drums and hushed vocals that are paired up and layered with a cute female backing vocalist. It feels epic like a journey, but also really cosy and homely like a forest village. The way the strings build to the percussion in the breaks rouses your spirits and the bass is funky throughout. Closing the EP is “Ludag (The Water Divide)” which is a hushed story of dreams with a mild country twang as Iain mixes barn dance folk with modern country sensibilities… but downbeat of course.
It’s lovely to hear Iain really going for the plugged sound and he does it exceptionally well. Talented at both the Scottish folk and the Scottish rock ends of the musical spectrum, he continues to be an undiscovered pearl of greatness.
Recommended track: “Earth and the Dirt”