‘First Edition’ by the Fruit Tree Foundation is finally widely available after receiving only an initial release at the two gigs in October last year. A limited number of CDs are available from Chemikal Underground whilst the 14 track album is also available digitally from Chemikal and the usual online retailers.

The Fruit Tree Foundation was founded by Rod Jones and Emma Pollock and after a series of gigs under the ‘Music as A Vitamin’ banner, last year they followed the Burnsong route and sequestered a number of fellow Scottish artists in deepest Perthshire to write and record new songs. ‘First Edition’ is the result.

It’s the sort of collaborative project that is becoming increasingly common in Scotland today (a good thing) and follows in the footsteps of the more formal collection that is the Burns Unit.

First thing to say, in case you’re not aware of it, is that 50% of the profits from sales of the LP go to the Mental Health Foundation in Scotland. And secondly, more importantly, it’s a cracking LP and doesn’t need its charitable origins to sell it. You really should buy it.

Involving James Graham (Twilight Sad), Scott Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit), Jill O’Sullivan (Sparrow and the Workshop), Karine Polwart, Jenny Reeve, Alasdair Roberts and James Yorkston, the record does a fair job of touching most of the range of repertiroes of the artists concerned.

And I think it’s a testament to the strength of the songs that, when we were away in France last weekend without much opportunity to listen to music, the songs that were popping into my head were from this record.

Thing is, although it stretches from folk to indie, it’s a less diverse collection than ‘Sideshow’ was. Which very much has the benefit of making it feel like a cohesive collection.

If there’s a problem at all (and I almost feel bad suggesting this) it  is that there are few surprises. Indeed  ‘I Forgot The Fall’, the Frabbit/Idlewild collaboration, indicates just how much common ground there is between the 2 bands.

Given everyone involved that’s perhaps to be expected – most of the artists concerned are about the songwriting first and foremost. The only exception may be The Twilight Sad and almost inevitably there’s little of that band’s sonic experimentation carried through here. Next time for ‘Second Edition’ it might be nice if there was a wider spectrum of artists involved – how about some Mogwai, Errors or Jetpacks?

Which all sounds a bit negative which would be entirely wrong. There are some great songs on here, Jill O’Sullivan’s ‘Favourite Son’,  the aforementioned ‘I Forgot The Fall’, the Rod Jones and Emma Pollock collaboration ‘Hired Hand’ and Jenny Reeve’s ‘Tooth and Claw’ spring to mind.

Buy it here. I insist and I don’t do that often.

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