The press release for this Glasgow singer-songwriter’s third album, Viva Melodia, pitches him as “one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets”, so it seems fitting that it’s produced by another unsung talent of Scottish indie, Biff Smith of the Starlets.
The two have obvious things in common: a featherweight androgynous singing voice, a romantic streak and a songwriting style that is gentle, understated, charming, bittersweet and at its best when embellished with the gorgeous string arrangements of Pete Harvey, a long-time Starlets associate, more recently a member of the Edinburgh band Meursault, and a prominent presence here. Like the Starlets, Kerr has found a supportive audience in the Far East – a Japanese music magazine listed his debut as one of its 20 best Scottish albums of all time, and he has played there several times since, as well as in Shanghai and Beijing. Viva Melodia, released last week, looks set to build on this. It’s a lovely album, on which Kerr’s simple engaging songs are fleshed out with flutes, brass, piano and sweet harmonies from Smith.