Hailing from the west coast of Scotland, Salt House create music as beautiful as their rural homeland. The name of the album itself, Huam, comes from the Scottish word for an owl hoot, showing how closely linked the band is with the natural world. The band have even teamed up with conservation charity Trees for Life, so that every album sale will plant a tree to offset their touring carbon footprint.
There is something deeply traditional about these songs, but the band have managed to bridge the gap between old and new worlds by keeping their music relevant to today’s modern climate. The Same Land is particularly thought provoking, addressing the contemporary issues of war and political unrest between different groups in a sensitive way. In fact, almost every song on the album has a palpable emotion to it, a feature that can be increasingly rare in a world full of soulless pop.
The songs are almost otherworldly, as if listening to them could transport you to a different time and place altogether. Haunting melodies are woven with old stories to create something quite magical. Each member of the band is incredibly talented on their own, but what is even more impressive is their ability to seamlessly fit together as an ensemble. The vocals are excellent, the sweet voice of Jenny Sturgeon combines perfectly with the raw, plaintive voice of Ewan MacPherson. Both of them are carried along by the ebb and flow of the strings from Lauren MacColl.
It’s true that this style of folk music may be something of an acquired taste. One thing that the album lacks is variation. But there is no denying the clear skill of the band, and the lush, layered sound that they have created, apparent even to those who don’t usually enjoy the genre.