I love late Autumn. I’ve stopped mourning festival season and started getting excited about Yuletide and, best of all, my favourite Scottish musicians’ no longer sound cold and out of place in the Southern sunshine. With the nights firmly drawn in and the country erupting in weekly episodes of civil unrest, what better time for a folk punk album to galvanise the troops?

Dave Hughes, like contemporaries Al Baker and Chris T-T, creates the type of folk music that gives me hope in this era of Ed Sheeran and his beige masses: thought-provoking and intelligent social commentary. Despite The Blackout, his first album released through a label, is noticeably more polished than previous recordings (probably because most of the ones I own were recorded at the back of gigs…), retaining the rough-around-the-edges feel of a live performance, while capitalising on the opportunity to make the sound bigger and more dramatic.

Opening track ‘Mirrors’ starts very prettily, but utilising the kind of guitar body drumming that goes straight to my inner hippy-drum-circle lover’s heart, blossoms into a rousing call to “break through the mirror” of society’s expectations and make your path your own. The description of life as “a growing collection of things you might miss” means this’ll be my go to song whenever I’m in danger of falling prey to the terrifying FOMO.

In spite of that sentiment, there’s a world-weariness about this short album. It feels full of frustration, bordering on anger, but most of all loss – of hope, of faith, of love and of loved ones. Which is not to say it’s bleak or hopeless, more questioning and searching. Throughout the musical arrangements are minimal, largely composed of ferocious strumming and a singular percussion line, serving to highlight Dave Hughes’ emotive and passionate warble.

The final verse of the deliberately ugly 'Discovery Itch', for instance, “then take it, love, cause I know that I’m a mess,” is spat out, brutal in its simplicity, and a fitting round out for a song bursting with anger at oneself. Likewise, ‘How to Craft A Life’ contains the plainly cutting, “Take me away to a happier place, perhaps the day before I saw your face,” and another, less drastic, method of escaping one’s life. 'The Bells' (complete with actual bells and tinkling glockenspiel) and 'When You’re Old' (plus Dylan-esque harmonica) are the slower songs; beautifully melancholy, yet tentatively hopeful.

In short, if you like folk and folk punk, this is a brilliant piece of it, by one of our better singer-songwriters (i.e. one who actually has something worth saying). Actually, title track, 'Despite The Blackout', sums the feel of this album up perfectly: “Despite the blackout we’ll get through this, and these simple songs will be our searchlights.” Given the mood of the country, I can’t think of a better, or better timed sentiment than that right now.