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When King Creosote sings, “[Y]ou’re Scottish and you’re ugly/And you’ve a relative looks like…Dudley Moore” on Track 4 of the new Rocket D.I.Y., he’s not really going for laughs. In fact, “Crow’s Feet,” inspired by the narrator’s contemplation of his facial wrinkles, gets fairly serious: There’s an evocation of the Garden of Eden, and the whole guitar-and-piano-led tune, though a pretty little thing, is about coming to grips with one’s own ugliness. That’s typical of the King’s subjects, who often seem befuddled by life’s travails. “Twin Tub Twin,” D.I.Y.’s first tune, gives us a guy “four loads behind on the wash”; by mid-album, on “Circle My Demise,” he’s begging a wronged lover to “Throw me the rope/Demand of me more.” You couldn’t demand more of Creosote himself, however: The Fife-based singer-songwriter isn’t just prolific, having released at least 22 previous KC discs, but also remarkably self-sufficient. He recorded his latest at home last summer and fall and released it on his own Fence label; on not quite half of its 12 tracks, he flies completely solo (well-placed samples notwithstanding). On each of the remaining seven, he sings and plays at least three instruments, ranging from guitar to accordion to piano to melodica to, um, beach ball. Granted, a perusal of the liner notes suggests that some of the best moments are team efforts. On the brisk “Saffy Nool,” drummer and labelmate Captain Geeko the Dead Aviator adds texture without being obtrusive, and on “A Month of Firsts,” electronicist (and labelmate) OnTheFly programs some loopy surges that match lyrics about Mexican jumping beans and complement tasteful flourishes from pedal-steel guitarist (and, yes, labelmate) Pip Dylan. But overall, D.I.Y. bears its sovereign’s rather distinct imprint: a talent for creating quiet, nuanced soundscapes that some might call “folktronic,” populated with folk who are realistically and incisively drawn. Ignore the liner-note hints about “lousy puzzles on a record cover.” The blurry-photo-and-bling-encrusted wristwatch spacecraft whose toothpaste-cap rocket nozzles spew tartan-colored flames might be fun for a minute, but it doesn’t reward contemplation like the music does. Better to join the King in the “leaky harmonium” that keeps him afloat on a sea of troubles in “The Things, Things, Things” or help him draw his “demons inside-out” in “Klutz,” one of D.I.Y.’s few songs that could be accurately described as rollicking. This Scot is far from the first musician to try to play his way through life’s little ups, downs, and dull spots, but happily, he’s even further from being the worst. —Joe Dempsey