Salt House – Huam

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

Salt House is a class act.  With two fine albums behind them, the band’s debut Lay Your Dark Low (2013) followed by Undersong (2018) and a slight change of line-up, this is all the proof we need.  Salt House now return with their third release, maintaining the same personnel as on their previous album, with original members Lauren MacColl and Ewan MacPherson, together with Jenny Sturgeon making up the trio.  With Huam, the band has definitely found its feet, an album that showcases the song writing credentials of both Jenny and Ewan all too well, together with the superb musicianship and flair for arrangement of all three, notably the dreamy “Mountain of Gold” and the rich mosaic of sound that underpins “Lord Ullin’s Daughter”.  There’s a definite feeling of both empathy and unity in each of the ten selections. 

For Huam, pronounced Hoo-am, a Scots term for the call of an owl, Salt House team up once again with producer Andy Bell, who helps deliver an enchanting album made up of original songs and thoughtful arrangements of poems set to music from the pens of Emily Dickinson, Thomas Campbell and notably, Nan Shepherd, whose “Fire Light” opens the album.  Crafted between Inverness-shire and Shetland and recorded in Argyllshire, the overall feel of the album relates to the rural environment around them, something close to each of the musicians’ hearts, so much so that sales from Huam will go towards helping the conservation charity Trees for Life.  A tip top addition to a steadily growing collection of first rate albums.     

Choice Track: All Shall Be Still (NSV 498)