Mutation: a new line-up unleashed; a greater, deeper exploration of Monster Ceilidh Band’s signature melding of traditional music and powerful, electronic beats. For the first time, Monster Ceilidh Band have tackled their new album live, showcasing the band in full frenetic flow. Mutation indicates why the band has been in such demand for festivals, club nights and ceilidhs, across the UK and Europe.
The musicianship is masterful but fans will be unsurprised at their virtuosity; after all, it’s only such careful, sensitive arrangement and instrumentation that enables their music to work – and the energy to remain consistently high.
Mutation shows off how great the band is at evolving tunes: building up, breaking down, and taking the listener – and dancer – to somewhere entirely new. Many of the tunes begin acoustically, with the fiddle or accordion leading the way, leaving the listener wondering how, where and when the inevitable beats will begin – like in lead single and album opener, ‘Venus’, where curious strings introduce a seemingly disparate beat before its becomes wholly more rounded and self-assured. Or there’s ‘Mutated Beeswing’, where an impossibly delicate, skipping fiddle slides into a new dimension with accordion, before beats and sample fly it to somewhere else altogether.
‘Never Will’ sees the gravitas and swagger of the rhythm section give way to a Chic-like breakdown, cheered on by an audience, while the fluid fiddle hands the baton to the accordion in ‘Reasoning’, before a pulsating ostinato brings home the main message. A thumping heartbeat ogles the acoustic instrument as they flirt by in ‘Lusty’, but the weighty octave mandolin and insistent drums keep the track in check.
Monster Ceilidh Band make much of their new recruits, fiddlers Shona Mooney and Grace Smith, with both contributing compositions and lead parts, including the powerful album closer, ‘Disgrace’, where pleading fiddle is chastened by sombre mandolin and accordion. Relentless drums retain the energy and keep the feet moving.
Mutation is another notch on Monster Ceilidh Band’s own brand of dance music: intelligent, hypnotic, wild.
Artists’ website: http://monsterceilidhband.co.uk/
‘Twisted Bridge’ – live in the studio:
28 April Jam Jah, Durham
29 April Hug and Pint, Glasgow
5 May The Magic Garden, Battersea, London
6 May The Fox & Firkin, Lewisham, London
19 May Ace Space, Newbury
26 May Platform, Morcambe
1 July North East Chilli Festival, Seaton
29 July Warwick Folk Festival, Warwick
5 August Wilderness Festival, Oxfordshire
12 August Lakefest, Herefordshire
8-10 September Bestival, Dorset