Opening with a standard ‘blues’ riff, you feel as if you’re into conventional music pigeon-holeing until that is the introduction of Camac harp that adds such a deep, resonant texture it makes you think “wow”… this is really different! It’s that unusual texture and presentation layered by the evocative, almost eerie singing of the band on the Gaelic “Ho Mhorag” (imagine Harpies luring Jason and his Argonauts to their deaths) that the song gently adheres to the hypnotic beat so characteristic of indigenous waulking songs. Topped by an absolutely gorgeous tune “John Stephen Of Chance Inn” with its seductively simple arrangement this is what the girls do best. With four original members; Mary MacMaster (harps), Patsy Seddon (harps/fiddle), Sally Barker (guitars) Eilidh Shaw (fiddle) the quartet are now joined by the talented Mairearad Green (piano accordion/pipe drone) and there’s a sprightly ‘feel’ to the band that has been somewhat lacking of old. Moving into Puppini Sisters style barbershop harmonies on “Black Eyed Susan” proves an interesting musical diversion although I’m not sure about the mannered lead vocals. Painting a vivid musical portrait conjuring images of technicolour landscapes and a hoped for better life in Sally Barker’s exquisite “Canada” segueing into “Oh My Country” and hopefully you have some idea of where this album’s coming from. Perhaps not as ‘in your face’ as I thought it might be, the recording has plenty to challenge the listener and that’s no bad thing in this commercially led industry of ours.
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