'To the Pine Roots' begins with two of the best songs Iain Archer has ever written. 'The Acrobat' reaches the same heights of grace and wonder as its central character, while 'Songbird' has a straight-to-the-heart guitar melody that hits your happy and sad switches at the same time.

Initial listens may have you convinced that the rest of the album fails to live up to them - be patient and you'll be smitten with everything here.

What's fascinating throughout is that Archer sounds like someone who wants to find out what will and won't work for his own talent: the electric guitars of his previous two records are almost gone; 'Everest' is eight minutes long; the hush and relaxed pacing will test some listeners.

Once you put in the time, you'll come away with more admiration than you arrived with, and be willing to follow this adventure wherever it takes him.

Harry Guerin