James Yorkston and The Athletes

James Yorkston and the Athletes is a Scottish band, backed by a label with an impressive line up. If that doesn’t inspire confidence, Just Beyond the River is also produced by Kieran Hebden (AKA Four Tet) and preceeded by the acclaimed debut, Moving Up Country. However, Just Beyond the River doesn’t reach beyond okay: Yorkston’s soft folky vocals and instrumentation are peaceful and pleasant but really offer no substance or progression. Each milky song begins to blend into one another as time passes, and simple strummings become banal and stale. Yorkston’s brand of musings lack the colourful viewpoint found in the work of label mate Bonnie Prince Billy, or M Ward. I’m a big fan of folk, but the greatness of the genre is found in the innovation that keeps it vital; an innovation that this album sadly lacks.