Salt House – Undersong

Album Review | Make Believe Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

And then there were three.  When the Scots band Salt House first set out on their adventures back in 2013, they were a quartet made up of four musicians whose debut album was greeted with critical acclaim.  Since then, the band have undergone some changes, with original members Ewan MacPherson and Lauren MacColl remaining in the line-up, and the addition of lead singer Jenny Sturgeon, who takes over where Siobhan Miller left off.  Undersong is equally as good as the band’s debut, which features both traditional and original songs, together with the odd Robert Frost poem re-set to music, each performed with gentle arrangements and alternating vocal performances, which keeps the album interesting.  Recorded by seasoned record producer Andy Bell in a restored church on the island of Berneray in the Outer Hebrides, beautifully captured in the trio’s video promo of “Staring at Stars”, the songs capture the essence of such a breath-taking setting.  Curiously the band’s debut Lay Your Dark Low back in 2013 doesn’t include Ewan MacPherson’s song of that name, although it does appear here, accompanied by some sprightly guitar work courtesy of its author.  “The Sisters’ Revenge” perhaps showcases what this incarnation of Salt House does best, that is to bring stories alive with gorgeous playing and empathetic voices.  Glad to see them back.