On butterflies and broken glass, Kim Edgar has moved into very different territory from her previous releases. Gone is the jazzy lounge sound, replaced by more contemporary pop/folk stylings. This is definitely a more mature album and readily establishes Kim as a force to be reckoned with on the Scottish singer/songwriter scene
butterflies also sees a shift in Kim’s songwriting style. Her lyrics are still well-crafted and moving, but they aren’t quite as intimate as earlier songs, as though the perspective is from a step back instead of right there in the grit with her. In general, her songwriting skills have become much tighter, due, I think, to her experiences in 2006’s Burnsong Songhouse project. There she worked side-by-side with the likes of Karine Polwart, Emma Pollock, King Creosote, MC Soom T and others. Three of the ten tracks were co-written with members of that group
The thing that has impressed me the most about butterflies is the music. Kim has composed some exceptional pieces that really form the fabric of each song. One feels the utter intensity of the situation in “Scissors, Paper, Stone,” a dramatic piece about domestic violence, as well as the lighter nostalgia that imbues “Red”. This album is full of depth and texture and excellently showcases her skills as a composer. Additionally, she is backed by a stellar cast of musicians, most of whom happen to be Karine Polwart’s band, including Karine herself. Their musical abilities and professionalism truly help set this recording apart.
Kim has a gorgeous, melodious voice and she displays a greater range than on her earlier works. My only wish here is that her voice carried a bit more of the emotion often heard in her live performances. However, this is a minor thing, as the quality throughout is outstanding. My favorite tracks are “Just Outside Your Door,” the aforementioned “Scissors, Paper, Stone,” and “House on the Hill,” co-written with Emma Pollock.
Overall, butterflies and broken glass is a brilliant recording and I’m keenly awaiting future projects.