It’s great to see the mighty Highland pipes take centre stage once again and for those of us that were brought up on bands like Alba, The Tannahill Weavers and Battlefield Band will know just how powerful a tool it is featured in the context of ‘folk’ music. When it is taken out of this natural comfort zone and placed in the more, shall we say ‘commercial’ arena then it becomes a different beast altogether coming into its own when competing with the Heavy Metal riffs of guitarist Gajus Stappen and Lukas Rausch’s pounding drums. If you hadn’t guessed it already, Celtica Pipes Rock are not a band for the feint-hearted but for ‘entertainment’ value they seriously know how to rock. On their debut release they show their true colours with tracks including “Smoke On The Water”, “Rocking All Over The World” and “We Will Rock You” whilst their latest recording is a loosely theme based project taking in voyages and the sea. I’m not really sure about the introduction (a bit too ‘hammy’, like a reject from a Rankins album perhaps) or “Drunken Sailor” but hats off to them for cheekily including the track “Celtica Goes To Hollywood” and I’ll leave you to ponder that one…although having thought about it the term Schlock-Rock does come to mind. With a respectful nod to the tradition including “Crossing The Minch” and “Paddy’s Leather Breeches” musically speaking I can’t fault any of the performances from the other band members Gwendolen Rowe and Duncan Knight (Highland pipes), Harald Weinkum (bass) and Josy Svajda on keyboards and spot on production from Stappen. OK, so maybe not for die-hard traditionalists but great if you’re looking for an interesting after-dinner conversation piece and, of course…coming from me…both albums get a resounding thumbs-up!
Artist’s website: www.celticarocks.com