has switched from edgy folk label Cooking Vinyl to the more austere Thirsty Ear for this self-titled departure from his usual sparse and driving protest songs and Irish ballads. These are thoughtful pop constructs that leave the listener on a plateau of abandon one minute and in a melancholic valley the next. The album is outstanding in its evocation of emotional ambiguity, both lyrically and within its brilliant harmonic changes. Themes of yearning -- for travel, home, companionship, and freedom -- and moving on filter through in vignettes, both specific and non-specific. The tracks are enriched by a roster of guests, such as Radoslav Lorkovic on accordion, Ursula Burns on harp, and Stephen Fearing on mandola. It includes the gospel-tinged wails of Josie Docherty on "Jesus in a Cadillac," a duet with the Wild Colonials' Angela McCluskey on the sublime "Please," and the elevating single "Coz I'm Free," which was inspired by the tattoo on the arm of Olympic 400-meter champion Cathy Freeman.