Thursday, 25 August 2011

MUSIC REVIEW: The Burns Unit * * * * *

The Burns Unit - Wed 24 August 2011 -0250

The Burns Unit * * * * *
The Queens Hall, Edinburgh
24 Aug 2011, 8pm

Not all musical conglomerations can live up to the tagline of ‘supergroup’ however this is not at all the case with the Burns Unit. Tonight’s seated Queen’s Hall gig proves this Scottish/Canadian bunch is a super one for certain.

All accomplished artists in their own right, this ensemble of seven never abandon their own styles as they entwine to form a uniquely brilliant folk fusion. Mercury Prize nominee King Creosote, indie songstress Emma Pollock, multi-instrumentalist Kim Edgar, folkster Karine Polwart, pianist Michael Johnston, Caledonian artist Future Pilot AKA and drummer/producer Mattie Foulds are the extraordinary elements that make it all happen.

The evening unfolds as a free-for-all as the artists switch up song partners and instruments, Edgar particularly impressive moving from guitar to accordion to piano. Accordion-backed ballad Since We’ve Fallen Out is a tear-jerker delivered by Creosote and Polwart, spine-tinglingly soulful, and poker-face failures Pollock and Creosote get adorably playful with Tupperware Platter.

Keyboardist, Canadian and refreshingly upbeat emcee Johnston helps take a lead on a gleefully twee Closed for the Season, before the end draws near with a song that 3/7ths of them confess to be the One to take with them should the world end, and that song is, understandably, Simon & Garfunkel’s The Only Living Boy in New York.

Whether there’s two onstage or all of them, the thing that rules is harmony, and I can’t think of anything more super than that.

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