Words by Billy Rough
The opener ‘Dark Reel’ is an ambitious and blistering introduction to an album that is moody, earthy, haunting and passionate, taking its listeners into some new directions, places that other Scots folk bands fear to tread. Swiftly following this is ‘Weary Days’ delivered with plaintive bittersweet melancholy from singer Adam Holmes.
Brimming with feisty Highland pipes work coupled with Holmes’ muscular yet sensitive vocals and soaked in some genuine rock spirit, Rura have the feeling of a band confident in their own identify. They are authentically, passionately Scottish and have a considered maturity to their songwriting and melodies. ‘Between the Pines’ and ‘The Glorious 45’ sees the band in reflective mood, while ‘Drone Song’ is a sweet piece of grown-up longing. There is also a fine nod to tradition here too. ‘Cauld Wind Blast’ takes a Burns poem and layers it in a knowing and heartfelt sweetness. ‘Lasher’ closes the album with a welcome promise of much more energy to come from the band.
Despite the Dark is an infectious, exhilarating and downright sweaty toe-tapper of an album, which firmly establishes Rura’s position as one of the most exciting bands on the Scottish folk scene.