RM Hubbert: Thirteen Lost & Found

Friday, April 27th, 2012

This review has been months in the writing. It is incredibly difficult to put music into words sometimes, especially if it becomes almost too overwhelming that every literary outlet freezes.

‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ by RM Hubbert is one of the most important albums to be released in recent years. A bold statement, but one I can back up with a host of evidence and personal opinion. For artists like RM Hubbert to almost get a second chance in their musical career is a rare yet wonderful thing. His debut album ‘First & Last’ received critical praise and introduced Glasgow Podcart not only to a humble man, but also a style of music that challenged the way we listened and perceived a number of things.

His follow up ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ has seen Hubbert collaborate with a posse of friends to create an album of friendship, dedication and sentiment. Why is this album so important? Well, the aforementioned second chance rarely happens in this fickle and difficult music industry and for Hubbert to be signed by the esteemed Chemikal Underground Records after one of the most turbulent times in his life was instrumental. More importantly, the ethos and creation of the album was something that was bread through passion and a genuine need for reconnection with friends from his past. Instead of the conventional chat over a pint in the corner of your local, Hubbert suggested the meeting of minds through something that both parties lived and breathed; music.

And so the creative process started primarily between Chem 19 and the home studio of Alex Kapranos.  Having experienced some of the recording as it was happening; it was indeed one of the most organic approaches to an album I have witnessed.

‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ as a whole can be played from start to finish without realising how quickly the time has passed; this is indeed one of the beauties of a great album. But, like every LP everyone has songs that they identify with and favour.

‘Sandwalks’ with Stevie Jones accompanying on piano first struck me as a track that had a back-to-basics approach. It is a richly textured song that manages to translate fear and sadness through its esteemed musicality. When songs like this are crafted with such invigoration and attention to feeling, then all negativity is null and void.

When Hubbert said that one of his collaborators was Aidan Moffat, I had a slight flutter in the tummy it has to be said. Moffat is a man whose words pinpoint the exact emotion you were feeling at a certain time effortlessly so the addition of Hubbert on guitar was something that was sure to be perfect. ‘Car Song’ is an adventure, there is one particular point when Moffat talks of selling belongings and the signature Hubbert acoustic sound bathes it in such emotion that you cannot stop the lump rise to the top of your throat. The beauty of this song is that is ventures into new emotional territories, this song is as big as that first star your eye catches on a clear night.

Overall this album eliminates all pretense and each song responds to the other with honesty and reflectivity. From the noticeable breaths of Hubbert as he commands his guitar to the falsetto exquisiteness of Hanna Tuulikki, ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ is an album not only to be adored, but also to be admired.

Halina Rifai

Car Song is released Monday April 30th on Chemikal Underground Records.