First Watch: Alasdair Roberts, 'Pangs'

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Scottish bard Alasdair Roberts will release his new album, <em>Pangs</em>, on Feb. 24.

The last Scottish monarch died more than 300 years ago, but if England's departure from the European Union goes through, a wary Scotland just might be in the business for a new king. And as luck would have it for scotophilic aesthetes, Alasdair Roberts appears up for the job.

The British folk star and former Appendix Out frontman is about to release his 12th album, Pangs (out Feb. 24 on Drag City), and if the title track's music video is any indication, ol' Ali left a tad of his trademark modesty back in 2016. "Pangs" tells the tale of a prodigal savior summoned back to his castle by the Scottish people in a time of great need, and the king in question is played (rather sheepishly, mind you) by Roberts himself.

The video was conceived by Glaswegian filmmaker Catriona MacInnes, who previously worked with Roberts on one of her short films.

"My vision for 'Pangs' was a weary King returning to his people (after a long retreat) as they prepare for end times," MacInnes told NPR in an email. "[It's] inspired by the song lyrics, and the arrangement and potential of the castle location near the border between England and Scotland."

All kidding aside, Roberts has served as Scotland's premier folk ambassador for some time now, so it's a hoot to see him recognized, even with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

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