Herald rating: * * * *

With every new album by McLaney - he's now up to his seventh under his own name or band banner Gramsci - his modest local following will have wished for a swelling of its ranks.

He has, it must be said, made himself a little hard to get a handle on, with past swings from the earnest electronica-enhanced rock of his ensemble work to spartan solo acoustic albums such as previous solo effort The Shadows of Birds Flying Fall Slowly Down the Tall Buildings.

He's shown himself to be fine singer in both settings but his label-hopping suggests he's a hard act to flog in a country where high-profile solo male singer-songwriters tend to be veterans of a band or two.

But Edin just might get McLaney that elusive wider audience. Among its 10 songs are many a swooning ballad of gorgeous tune and reflective lyric, all against a warm atmospheric setting - McLaney's voice and dextrous guitar backed by a low-key rhythm section and string quartet. Arrangements are by Graeme Downes, whose creative sidesteps of the usual chamber-rock cliches are best heard on the likes of Pick Up the Pieces.

McLaney and co set the melancholy tone with Don't Want to Know and Is This Really How It Feels? before Love & Not the Lesson adds some dramatic tension to the mix.

And later there's a Celtic twang behind Darling You Turn Me On before Let Me Count the Ways gets a loping jazzy groove from double bassist Richie Pickard and drummer Nick Gaffaney.

An acoustic album of refined approach it might be, but Edin also provides the perfect framework for McLaney's singular voice.

Label: Loop