The debut album from Three Blind Wolves is finally here, and there's an audible feeling of it being a labour of love; there's an old and worn quality to these songs - they haven't just been written, they've been lived with for roughly a year, if not more. With the exception of the band accepting the challenge of recording an album in a day (late 2011's The Maybe Forest, which featured an early version of Sing Hallelujah For the Old Machine's opening track 'In Here Somewhere'), this is the first major collection of studio material they've put out since Sound of the Storm earlier that year. They've honed their craft as a live band since then, for the most part, and the raw sound of Sing Hallelujah often captures their live spirit on record. Most bands will tell you that this is a tough trick to master, but the quartet have pulled it off without a hitch.

They may only be four people, but Sing Hallelujah is an album that sounds like the work of seven or eight. Despite the raw production, the intricacies of their sound come through quite clearly, such as on 'Gold on the Cross', which wraps an infectious melody around propulsive drumming and gentle harmonies, only to do a complete stylistic U-turn around four minutes in, building to an expansive finale reminiscent of frequent tourmates Frightened Rabbit. 'Slow Summer Deer', despite its fey-sounding title, is one of the most full-on songs on the record, frontman Ross Clark's throaty vocals becoming an unexpected source of energy for the song as it barrels its way toward the instantly arresting chorus of, "You fall into my arms like a bleeding horse." The lyrics on the album are shot through with similarly striking imagery; for example, "I'm breaking up inside / I've got the doldrum blues messing with my stride" sets the introspective tone on 'Parade', a song that shuffles along at a steady pace before suddenly opening up for its punchy chorus.

There are plenty of surprises on the album, too - 'Honey Fire' takes a number of unexpected detours, starting off as a slow song before cycling through many different moods, seeming to encapsulate everything Three Blind Wolves are about in its five minutes. Penultimate track 'I Will Put You in the Ground', meanwhile, is every bit as hard-hitting and bitter as its title suggests, a rumination on a break-up with cutting lyrics that's set to a sparse arrangement and features impressive harmonies from the rest of the band - its gang-vocal finale is sure to send shivers up your spine, and it won't be the first time it happens while listening to an album that's packed full of moments like that. From start to finish, the debut album from one of Scotland's best live bands is a delight - it turns out they're actually rather good in the studio, too. It's full of the melancholic outlook that the Scottish seem to do better than anyone, but as miserable as it is, it sure is enjoyable.