In a year that brought us the albums of Takeshi Nishimoto, Sir Richard Bishop and James Blackshaw there has definitely been no shortage of decent guitar albums. And this release on Australia?s reliable Preservation label is yet another one that mustn?t be overlooked. ?Wind Wound?, the debut of Early Songs uses not only guitar but also piano, found sounds and a wide array of other instruments. It?s definitely the acoustic guitar that stands out most on ?Wind Wound?, though, along with the magnificent composition skills of Glaswegian David Scott, the man who is Early Songs.
It?s stunning how Scott uses his technical skills to produce an utterly organic sound. That?s why I prefer his album to, for example, the Nishimoto. There are no etudes on this record, and no exuberant fingerplay either. The two longest of the eleven tracks are a little over six minutes but there are others that barely hit the 2:30 mark. Tracks like ?Turn and Face Me? or ?The Young Kirsty MacFarlane? are warm and soothing, the sound of what I take to be an accordion sprays the smell of devastating booze in ?Long Distance Learning?. It?s the body of Scott?s main instrument, however, that resonates most assuringly, promising the listener to include him as well. Scott?s guitar is a room of shelter onto which the outer world pours in the form of the occasional glockenspiel. I?m not sure to what extend exactly Early Songs uses Scottish folk tradition but this album definitely testifies to a degree of natural self-assurance that can only be found within an intact tradition, a proximity to your roots and to nature. That?s where the chirping birds in ?Far Away is Scotland? come in.
It may be somewhat ironic to get such an album from a label that?s based in a country usually associated with dusty outback and sweltering sun. The ?Greenheart? that Scott celebrates in one of the rare percussive and openly dramatic moments of the album does hardly beat down under. Still, ?Wind Wounds? is not a ?Braveheart?-style celebration of all things Scottish but somehow manages to be both local and universal. Its beauty is rooted in tradition but should appeal to listeners everywhere. Really, David Scott and Early Songs should get a lot more attention in the future. 8/10 -- Jan-Arne Sohns (28 November, 2007)