No Selfish Heart has been many years in the making. For Rick Anthony, some of the material for his first solo effort pre-dates the debut of his day job, The Phantom Band, by reputedly up to five years. His work with the indie-rock experimentalists is critically lauded, and something much detached from the music he creates under pseudonym Rick Redbeard – but as piratey as that sounds, don't expect any sea shanties, or a grizzled grog-glugging roar. No Selfish Heart is a tender acoustic record, harnessing the power of traditional folk elements and dusty Americana that, whilst heavy on the emotion and melody, lacks the excitement of his more well known work.

'A Greater Brave' weaves ethereal arpeggios with the delicate raking of Mariachi and a gravelled baritone that recalls Johnny Cash if he'd had some menthol lozenges. There's an incessant 'la la la'-ing behind the music, that although starts as an absorbing digression from the main melodies, fast becomes a distraction. 'Kelvin Grove' sees Redbeard caress his guitar like a harp, with accompanying violins that is a sweet serenade with an over-abundance of the phrase 'bonnie lass' – which, alongside the pastoral rhetoric of glens and mills, is a darling nod to classic Scottish folk ditties. 'Old Blue' tests his vocal range, effortlessly arcing into a beautiful falsetto to harmonise with string arrangements. It's skeletal, but the exasperation in his voice echoes the instrumentation – less is definitely more here, and boy does it work.

With a strictly consistent timbre and most tracks knocking about the 4/5 minute mark, your attention – much more often than you'd like – waivers, awaiting a flash of intrigue or a change of pace, instrumentation or tone – just anything that will stoke the embers slowly dimming as the album wears on. While there are subtle deviations on the record, a lot tracks blur into each other, and what presents itself as something with the Gaelic intensity and gruff levity of Frightened Rabbit it can sometimes feel as meek as a frightened rabbit. It would stand to reason that someone who has spent nearly ten years creating an album would reveal something fantastic and refined – but what we've got is a watered down version of Chinese Democracy, stripped back until it's nothing but skin and bone. Perfect to soundtrack a 'Visit Scotland' advert, though.

'Cold As Clay (The Grave)' does light up the LP, with twinkling chimes, an accordion and a thicker texture that is instantly life-affirming (ironically, due to the lyrics exploring death). There's a resounding hope here, and even though it teeters on the edge of becoming enormous, it just strikes shy of the target. A post-rock cymbal brouhaha, gnarled drones and a jolt of pizzazz up the jacksy and this coulda been a contender. Obviously however, it's deliberately understated, just like the rest of the album. 'Any Way I Can' exudes a country-western vibe, with lonely electric guitar and the Scottish twang in Redbeard's voice almost mistakable for Georgian drawl. There's also, unusually for the album, percussion – albeit a solitary hi-hat.

Fans of safe acoustic folk, look no further, you'll love this: it's sodden with emotion, with a weep-inducing sombreness and a wry look at love and death. The blatant references to traditional bucolic sounds are plenty. There's even a little country mixed in there for good measure, and some pretty strings. But for those looking for something that colours outside the lines and makes you pay attention, don't get your hopes up.