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WEST OF EDEN – Travelogue (Zebra Art Records ZAR 851)

The nomadic life of the wandering minstrel comes vividly to life on this the fifth release by the excellent Swedish band West Of Eden. This is an album that in many respects is a retrospective of their touring life and allows the band Jenny Schaub (lead vocals/accordion/tin whistle), Martin Schaub (guitar/mandolin/keyboards), Kenneth Holmstrom (bass), Ola Karlevo (drums/bodhran), David Ekh (electric guitar) and Lars Broman (fiddle) to explore their rights of passage on the ‘folk’ circuit. Having toured extensively throughout Europe taking in Ireland and Scotland and soaking up both countries Celtic culture the band utilise a strong ‘roots’ connection that is apparent from their use of predominantly acoustic instrumentation. Talking of which, the deceptively cool mandolin accompaniment on “Buttercup Meadow” brings to mind a performance by the sadly missed Louis McManus (of the Bushwackers Band). Meticulous, studied treatments (although not clinical in anyway) in how to play to a song’s strength is the band’s forte whether from flowing acoustic settings to pop-rock that wouldn’t seem out of place on a recording by The Corrs. This is seriously ‘easy listening music’ and if there’s any justice should be championed by the likes of Mike Harding or Terry Wogan.

PETE FYFE

Artist Website: www.westofeden.co.uk