The album opens with ambient noise. The chatter and clamor of a Scottish café runs over of a melancholy and haunting piano melody. It’s an unusual beginning, but then again, it’s an unusual album.
“Diamond Mine” by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins is the product of seven years of arranging music, singing and recording the slew of noises that weave the album together. The resulting album is a touching, delicate ode to Scottish living that meanders, albeit in the best way possible.
Listening to the album feels like pulling on a pair of well-worn boots: It takes a second or two to get into it, but once you’re comfortable, it feels cozy. The album is the sort of piece to play on a quiet night with a good book or a good friend.
The album ebbs and flows with irregular peaks; the best parts often aren’t full songs, but portions of songs here and there.
One of the cuts, “Bats in the Attic,” was recorded in an abnormal way: They recorded the guitar part and then played it back through a mobile phone to degrade the quality, according to an interview with DrownedInSound.com.
Because there is so much background noise, the tracks aren’t linear. There are often several minutes of sounds between the actual songs.
“John Taylor’s Month Away,” for example, takes a fourth of the song to wind down after the vocals are finished. This can be annoying at times, but there isn’t really a break in the action. The entire album runs seamlessly in a way that listeners aren’t necessarily used to.
Creosote’s strong Scottish accent is a treat to listen to, although there are moments where he’s simply incomprehensible, When the lyrics can be understood the poetry is beautiful.
“Diamond Mine” is worth listening to, if only to prove to your friends that “Born This Way” wasn’t the only new release this week.