Since Campfires in Winter released ‘White Lights’ there has been anticipation for the follow up; the Croy based four piece have been hard at work on their new EP and it shows when ‘With a Ragged Diamond’ gets into full flow, the distinct production that was on ‘White Lights’ is seen again.
‘With a Ragged Diamond’ flirts between tempos and styles from the quick, experimental rock beginning to the stripped back waltz of drums and piano featuring the distinct and powerful voice of Robert Canavan.
There is something refreshingly different about CIW, with such contrast in sections, varied song structure and a very distinct sound they provide us with something that is very rarely found in Scottish music.
The title track, ‘Picture of Health’, shows us the extent of Canavan’s powerful vocals when they lead us into the record accompanied by very little else.
As the track starts to build form it is accompanied by emotional lyrics that show a vulnerability to Canavan with such lines as: “but hapiness i’ve only seen on TV’s and magazines,” it paints a stark picture indeed to Canavan’s influences.
CIW makes great use of backing harmonies, layering synths and effects are present throughout the EP and add real depth, the best example of this comes in the climax of ‘Picture of Health’.
‘See us There, Both’ is a wonderful track that gives us a great variant with more pop driven influences, arguably the strongest track on the EP down to the hook found throughout the vocal melodies and individually strong sections.
There is a wonderful section found in the middle of a staccato’d instrumental, which flows back into a leading outro section.
‘Stories’ shows some of the same pop influences seen in ‘See Us There, Both’, which is blended perfectly with CIW’s otherwise stark and atmospheric sound.
The quick pace of ‘Stories’ shows a different side to the EP further giving us a taste of the grounds explored by CIW in this new venture.
A great strength to CIW is their attention to detail, there are numerous nuances found everywhere you listen and there is a excellent use of atmospheric layers found in the backdrop of these terrific tracks.
Picture of Health had a lot to live up to considering the hype ‘White Lights’ created, but not only has it surpassed these expectations it shows that CIW are a band going from strength to strength and that they are venturing into furthering their sound that is a fitting companion in first signs of winter.
Words: Euan Coe