HEISK – Heisk (own label HEISK01)

HeiskBands spring up in Scotland like new barley in a freshly sown field but we’d best not carry the analogy too far because a good many of them seem to be cut down before their time. Heisk have been together for a while but this is their debut album. The band line-up is like the old joke: five musicians and a drummer. The drummer is Lauren Macdonald who started out playing jazz but that was good enough for Charlie Watts and Ginger Baker so don’t knock it! Up front are the twin fiddles of Rosie Munro and Sally Simpson, Becca Skeoch’s electro harp, Megan Macdonald’s accordion and Catriona Hawksworth’s keyboards.

Some tracks were written by the band, notable among them being Megan’s ‘Kayak’, which opens the set – there must be a story in there somewhere – Catriona’s pounding ‘Disco’ and the delightful ‘Faces’ written by Becca and Lauren MacColl. Others come from here, there and everywhere – from Norway and South America as well  as closer to home in Scotland.

Heisk is made for dancing but it’s closer to the club standard of 120 bpm than the tempo of traditional Scottish dancing. I’m far too old for clubbing or the festival mosh-pit but I can see this album being a hit in either venue. Heisk make a thing of their album being played by six women and produced by a seventh, Anna Massie, with designs by two more women. There is a man involved although we won’t mention him but I think they may be preaching to the choir. In my view the finest Scottish soloists are female and that’s before we even mention The Shee and two of the best go-to session musicians, Su-a Lee and Signy Jakobsdottir. Just play the music – quality will always win out.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: www.heisk.co.uk

‘Ailsa’ = official video: