Never judge a book by its cover, or an album by its artwork.
Winter Stay Autumn, with its predominantly drab, painted front cover and darkest-time-of-the-year title, is nowhere near as cold as everything is telling you it is.
Maclean’s voice is warm and inviting – if you pick up a winter vibe, then at the very least he is inviting you to sit by the fire while he strums away.
More likely, his Scottish lilt, airy guitar tones, soothing harmonies, and lead fiddle melodies will take you to a quiet northern beach, on a peaceful island with a cottage nearby.
Its closest sonic comparison is Roddy Woomble’s The Impossible Song & Other Songs; these are songs that feel like they are going somewhere, with a charming confidence, and are the aural equivalent of a wee dram.
Taken as an entirety, Winter Stay Autumn is surprisingly weighty, clocking in at over 40 minutes despite only consisting of nine songs.
No track is rushed, and all are allowed to breathe to reach their full potential, and more than one features the closest thing you can get to excellent trad-jamming on record – both ‘Science or Fiction’ and the title track have extended outros that will get your foot tapping.
It is an immensely likeable record, both expansive and intimate, suited to sunlight and fairylight.
A strong debut, no doubt made stronger by his seasoned live performances, which always go down a storm.
Words: Scott Wilson