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Music: Smart Flesh by The Low Anthem ***

It's becoming increasingly difficult to simply "happen" upon quality new music in an age where hype rules, yet many who encountered The Low Anthem's second album Oh My God, Charlie Darwin two years ago might have felt they'd made an exciting discovery. It's the sort of slow-burner that folk devotees have become evangelical about.

This follow-up doesn't mess with the template. The carefully hewn, care-worn ballads are intact and Ben Knox-Miller's voice is a most evocative instrument. He's one of those singers that has the listener hanging on every word -- and that's a good thing, because his lyrics are so keenly observed.

The quality is high throughout, but two tracks deserve special mention. Opener Ghost Woman Blues is a perfectly judged exercise in sparse, ethereal songwriting, while Burn sounds like Leonard Cohen fronting Mercury Rev -- and it's a triumph.

Burn it: Ghost Woman Blues; Burn

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