RM Hubbert -‘Breaks & Bone’ (Chemikal Underground)
It’s great seeing success stories. Formerly of El Hombre Trajeado, Hubby’s first solo album First and Last was originally conceived as a project to take his mind off the death of his parents. It was re-issued by Chemikal Underground, who put out his second solo album, Thirteen Lost and Found. Not only did this see him working with the cream of the Scottish music scene (including Alex Kapranos, Emma Pollock, Aidan Moffat and Alasdair Roberts), but it went on to win the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY award), beating the likes of higher profile musicians Calvin Harris and Emeli Sande.
So here is the third album (and by definition final) in the Ampersand trilogy. Hubby jokes on his website that it’s a bit cheerier than the previous two. Well, it is, but the good news is that it still sounds like Hubby. He’s confronted a number of demons and as he heads towards his fortieth birthday next year, the spirit of the record suggests that he’s coming to terms with what he has been through and enjoying life.
Whereas the previous album featured guest vocalists, this is entirely a solo record, just Hubby and his guitar, singing on the tracks and his own take on a finger-picking style. ‘Bolt’ has been doing the rounds as a promotional track, and it’s a good indication of the album, but it all adds up to one very impressive, beautiful whole.
Added to which, it’s the 200th release on Chemikal Underground, who next year celebrate twenty years as Scotland’s greatest record label. Having also given us Mogwai, Arab Strap, The Delgados and Aereogramme, this is a very fine way to celebrate that milestone.
Breaks & Bone is out now on Chemikal Underground