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I was a Cat from a Book
James Yorkston I was a Cat from a Book
Released 10 August 2012
Label Domino
Length 38:23
Genre Folk
Website jamesyorkston.co.uk

James Yorkston’s latest album I Was A Cat From A Book features guest appearances from the likes of Kathryn Williams and Sparrow and The Workshop’s Jill O’Sullivan. The folk veteran’s seventh solo album contains eleven songs of sorrow unfurled at an ambling pace. The results are somewhat bland and forgettable; rarely demanding the attention of the listener. Yorkston’s talent is never in doubt though; each song is delicately presented with obvious attention to detail as a vast array of instrumentation weaves gently in and out of the album. The problem is the results are more akin to the half-baked The Green Fields of Foreverland by The Gentle Waves than Belle and Sebastian or anything substantial in folk’s illustrious past or even Yorkston’s for that matter.

Opener 'Catch' is almost too apologetic. Likewise, 'Two' is just too subdued. Yorkston is at his best with a shot of adrenalin rushing through his veins. See songs such as 'Border Song' for evidence; Its folk cacophony shines brightly above most of the songs on the album. 'Spanish Ants' is also an enjoyable jaunty affair. 'This Line Says' is the finest ballad on the album by some distance; its lyrics and music combining perfectly to create I Was A Cat From A Book’s moment of folk authenticity. Yorkston’s voice is never more believable and the emotion he conveys never more palpable.

I Was A Cat From A Book would have been one of the year’s finest EP’s had lesser songs been sacrificed for the good of the collection as a whole. Thankfully the album ends on a high with 'I Can Take All This' where Yorkston finally lets loose and spits in our eyes with quick-fire lyrics and an I’ll show you resolve.

- Stephen Byrne