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Expats release new album ahead of folk festival slot

Dante's singer-songwriter Sean McLaughlin and fiddle player Vicky Gray both grew up in Shetland, and they are heading north for this year's folk festival.

SHETLAND musical expats Dante will release their second album tomorrow in advance of the indie-folk band’s appearance at this year’s Shetland Folk Festival.

The band have strong roots in the islands, with both singer-songwriter Sean McLaughlin and fiddle player Vicky Gray having been brought up in Shetland.

Dante have been releasing music for nearly a decade, beginning with 2009 EP Monochrome, their debut album Wake in 2013 and a string of singles. Their sophomore album I Wear Your Weight With Mine, produced and mixed by Andy Monaghan of Frightened Rabbit, is to be released on the Stitch Records label.

Never afraid to blur the boundaries between genres, Dante have been described by The Herald as existing “on the hyphen between indie-folk” and setting “the bar high for the hybrid, adding post-rock atmospherics and evocative lyrics”.

The artwork for Dante's new album I Wear Your Weight With Mine.

McLaughlin has worked with Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones on a number of projects and is becoming recognised as one of Scotland’s most accomplished singers.

Growing up in Bressay has given a sense of solitude and introspection to McLaughlin’s writing, and the themes of his songs are obviously influenced by rural landscapes. He is also the first ever life member of Shetland Folk Festival, an accolade given to him as a birthday present by the committee in 1985.

I Wear Your Weight With Mine, mastered by Howie Weinberg who worked on Nirvana’s seminal Nevermind album, was inspired by the relationships people build over the course of their lives, focusing on what the band feel is important in life as they grow older.

McLaughlin says: “It is a hugely positive album. How positive it is to have strong ties to other people, but how much of a responsibility this can feel at times. It’s about connection, when disconnection seems like an easier option.”

  • Dante’s album I Wear Your Weight With Mine is out on Friday (9 March). The band will perform at Voe Hall on Thursday 3 May as part of this year’s Shetland Folk Festival.