GUIDEWIRES – II (Own Label GWMCD002)

GUIDEWIRES IINow I don’t know what it is about Guidewires…possibly, from my perspective it’s their approach to the opening bars of some of their set pieces. Take for instance the first track on this, the band’s second CD. The track “Cailean’s” starts off promisingly enough with rhythmic chops from guitar, bouzouki and fiddle and then, well then, it all goes a bit flat really leaving the listener wondering why bother with the build-up? It doesn’t happen too often but it does happen enough that you’re left wishing at times that the band would just get stuck in and play some straightforward music without lulling the listener into a false sense of what is to come. The band Paidraig Rynne (concertina), Sylvain Barou (flutes & pipes), Tola Custy (fiddle), Paul McSherry (guitars) and Karol Lynch (bouzouki/banjo & mandolin) are, without doubt consummate musicians but on this recording the arrangements work better when augmented by guest Triona Ni Dhomhnaill. Of course, having been an ex-member of The Bothy Band and Nightnoise, who could resist the silky smooth vocals featured on the mystical seafaring tale of “The Selkie”. Without wishing to sound disparaging to the rest of the band it’s Ni Dhomhnaill’s keyboards (and those redolent vocals) that really add an edge to the overall sound. Speaking instrumentally, there’s nothing to fault in the band’s performance but, dare I say it, I feel this album succeeds more (than the first album) by including the touch of colour provided by Triona and the drums/percussion of Mike Shimmin. A work still in progress? PETE FYFE

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