RakishSometimes you hear something so fresh that it makes you stop and think about the music. So it is with Rakish who make their recording debut with this mini-album: six tracks, each combining a song and a tune. At first glance I thought they might be Scottish, probably taken in by the opening ‘Queen Of All Argyll/Martin Wynne’s No.2’ with its delicate piano and fiddle intro, but Rakish are from York and are members or former members of a number of bands including Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Steam Radio and Fiddlers Wreck – a wealth of experience.

At a time when the fashion seems to be for over-complicating traditional music it’s good to catch sight of the fundamentals. Rakish do that. The songs are generally well-known – in the case of ‘Spanish Lady’ you might say over-familiar – but the tunes less so. Paul Davies plays the piano continuo well-known in Scotland, Dan Hands has a light touch on the fiddle, Paul Young provides the foundation with guitar and melodeon and lead vocalist Kirsten Mercer plays flugel horn but not often enough.

There isn’t a bad track. A bright and jaunty ‘Spanish Lady’ is paired with John McCusker’s ‘Pur The Orangutan’ and the melding of ‘Tom Paine’s Bones’ with a set of hornpipes is particularly good. In fact, the only thing lacking is another six tracks.

Dai Jeffries

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