James Yorkston, ‘When the Haar Rolls In’ (Domino)
“Haar” is fog, but not just any old fog; and in the Scottish tradition of rendering plain imagery transcendent, James Yorkston transforms it into something gorgeous, heartbreaking, and poetic. On the singer-songwriter’s fourth album, he has the melancholy burr nailed, and fleshes out his spare folk with strings, female voices, and lilting horns. His hypnotic vocals — which range from sleepy to merely sedate — remain at the center, with tales of lost romance (“Love, it can fray / It can come awry”) rolled out hazily. It gets a bit repetitive, but unlike other strains of modern folk (Will Oldham, Damien Rice, et al.), it’s easy to get lost in.