AN Unforgiving Light, the debut album by Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter Annie Booth, isn’t a harsh record but it’s honest. There’s raw emotion here, a yearning, soulful introspection which earns the 21-year-old Booth that comparison with Jeff Buckley in the press information accompanying the album, a joint release by indie labels Last Night From Glasgow and Scottish Fiction.

Happy-go-lucky is not a mood that features within these nine tracks, Booth instead taking on the Big Issues of existence and meaning with intelligence and vulnerability. And if Sacred Paws showed that airy-sounding, accessible songs about anxiety could be great never mind possible, Booth’s own awkward pop smarts are taken into the realm of relationships with the afrobeat-inspired Over My and recent single Chasm, a spry track about those horrible moments when you feel suddenly alienated from those you’re close to.

“I like to unsettle folk,” says Booth, originally from “the Lang Toun” of Auchterarder. “I didn’t think Chasm would get the amazing reception it has. I hear a lot of the words: ‘emotional’ and ‘emotive’ which I really like as I want to make music that people have an emotional connection with.”

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Booth will already be known to fans of Mt. Doubt, the acclaimed Scottish Fiction outfit she sings backing vocals for. In a neat role reversal, that band’s frontman Leo Bargery adds his considerable lungs to The Line, An Unforgiving Light’s stark, stunning closer. As well as touring with Mt. Doubt, who release new EP Moon Landings on November 3, Booth has played with her own band for the past couple of years. Previous to that, she earned her stripes with open mic spots, playing covers until she built up the confidence to perform her own material.

“I did an HNC in music at Perth College and was surrounded by like-minded people,” she says. “That encouraged me. It made me think: ‘this is something that I love doing and want to pursue, even if it doesn’t make me any money.’”

Originally assembled as her backing band, Booth says that guitarist Ross Campbell, bassist Craig Stoddart and drummer Rohan Bumbra have now developed into a more collaborative unit.

“The band are some of my best friends,” Booth says. “I come from a more singer-songwriter background but I have enjoyed what they were doing so much that their playing actually influenced the writing of the songs for the album.”

Recorded at the Depot Studios in Leith by Mark Morrow earlier this year, An Unforgiving Light retains the same intensity as her first original songs.

“The songs I wrote as an angsty teenager came from the same place they do now, from the emotional side of things, from either me feeling particularly heartbroken or worried,” she says, noting particular soft spots for Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, Neil Young and Editors.

Get to these launch dates early: Booth is supported on both by rising singer-songwriter Jared Celosse and Laurence Made Me Cry aka singer and visual artist Jo Whitby whose sublime Song For The Birds is also released on November 3.

Oct 19, Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, 7pm, £7. Tickets: bit.ly/AnniePetes Oct 20, Hug and Pint, Glasgow, 7.30pm, £7. Tickets: bit.ly/AnniePint

An Unforgiving Light is out on October 20 via Last Night From Glasgow and Scottish Fiction

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