Amy Duncan - Cycles of Life - Herald Scotland
Anyone with half an ear on Scottish music-making in recent times will be familiar with the palette of sound on the fourth album from award-winning songwriter Amy Duncan, a classically trained bassist who worked with now legendary alternative band Swelling Meg and whose pure-toned voice has been justly praised.
With members of the SCO string section and Mr McFall's Chamber on hand, Calum Malcolm in the producer's chair and Duncan's own multi-instrumental talents accompanied by harp and dobro guitar specialists, you probably even have a pretty accurate idea of what the set sounds like - and it is every bit as precisely realised as the label it is on might lead to expect.
Add to that use of repeated piano figures - with particular success on Your Very Soul - that recall the solo work of soundtrack composer Craig Armstrong, and there might be a suspicion these are all ingredients you have heard before.
But that would be to overlook the intensely personal nature of Duncan's writing, which describes a personal journey through some unhappiness during which her songwriting has been cathartic. That's the real reward of the 40 minutes in her company that is Cycles of Life.