Way Back Home is the impressively sophisticated new EP from Mull-based songwriter and guitarist Sorren MacLean.
Having spent years writing, recording and touring with the likes of Roddy Woomble and Mull Historical Society, MacLean now makes melodic folk-pop in the vein of Stornoway or Ben Howard.
The title track sets the scene for the EP with MacLean’s melodic fingerpicking shaded by fiddle and piano, and a widescreen, yearning vocal.
It’s a strong hook and a track that sets the tone for a record that sounds equally good sound tracking a summer’s day as it does a dimly lit folk club.
With lyrics about waltzing through the brambles, MacLean is obviously well aware of folk music traditions – there’s a touch of Nick Drake to ‘Rows & Rows of Boxes’ – but there’s a pop sensibility too that ensures the melodic hooks are strong and memorable.
And if that track doesn’t quite need to be five-and-a half-minutes long that’s just ‘cos you can have too much of a good thing, right?
Likewise the rhymes on ‘If Not For You’ might verge on the predictable, but they’re wrapped up in a package that privileges a believable and likeable sincerity over innovation for the sake of it.
Perhaps even beyond the tasteful, strong arrangements, the most compelling part of Way Back Home is MacLean’s voice, standing out starkly from the surrounding instruments on the downbeat ‘Long Will You Know’
Catch his debut album out very soon; it’s one to look out for.
Words: Max Sefton