The Ornate Lie is about abandonment, concealment, and sexual politics. Not enough for you? Triumphing over adversity and enduring love could equally be plucked from the issues covered by Kim Edgar on this powerful, and genre-less, piece of work.
Kim's collaborative stalwarts make up the core of the studio cast: Steven Polwart handles guitars, Kevin McGuire bass, and Mattie Foulds on drums. Mattie also doubles up on production: clearly a talent, as this sometimes complex music required a fine balance to highlight the sentiment yet retain the musical wallop. The band are joined by a mini-orchestra of voices, brass, and strings - all arranged by Kim.
'A Poppy Blossoms' romps in with Kim's signature piano in full effect. Riding over the top, and certainly not hidden in the mix, are words which immediately challenge. Themes of nurture are starkly questioned and left hanging, before a glimmer of light is offered and a 'little sustenance' found. Coupled with 'Not For Sharing' bringing 'shocking' issues which can't simply be 'put in the attic', it's a rollercoaster of a beginning set to darkly delicious melodies.
Whilst the title track moves in musically lyrical ways Kim stretches her voice to air opinions regarding 'capable women' being perceived as 'callous and cold.' Is it easier to live a lie? After all the questions and heartache tracks such as 'All The Little Sunbursts' ('Some days you feel life's worthwhile') and 'A Steamy Note' let warmth flood in. The latter, awash with brass and piano, is a brooding, cathartic duet, with Karine Polwart stating how love remains steadfast. The music continues with intimate portraits of life's blessings - the mystery of 'flesh, blood and bone' is explored in 'Fragile', sumptuous string-laden poetry defines 'A Favour From The Sea', and the magical bond of mother and child in '8,9,10'.
However intense, confrontational, or quietly contemplative these tracks are, they hold together with an overarching narrative of courageous honesty. It makes for an extraordinarily original album which should be heard and held up as an example of everything that's great about contemporary music.
Listen to clips of the album and pre-order via Kim's site now