Tyree Tecords [Release date 11.06.18]
Skerryvore formed in 2005 by Isle of Tiree-born Gillespie brothers Daniel (accordion) and Martin (Highland bagpipes), with Scott Wood (pipes, whistles) – the band’s newest member who joined last year, Craig Espie (fiddle), Alan Scobie (keys), Alec Dalglish (vocals, guitars) Jodie Bremaneson (bass) and West Lothian’s Fraser West (drums).
The album was recorded in East Lothian and Connecticut, the latter fitting as Skerryvore have a touch of Americana in their sound in places. They have been growing their fan base steadily and even have their own weekend festival Oban Live each year in June.
The album kicks off with a whirling and energetic instrumental ‘The Exorcists’, I defy anyone not to have their feet tapping along by the end of the song. A light hearted tune based on the bands ability to remove the spirits (liquid ones only!) from any household. They don’t take themselves too seriously as ‘Mile High’ is a musical tribute to fiddle player Craig Espie having a fainting spell when flying home from Spain.
Alec Dalglish puts in an emotional vocal performance on ‘At The End Of The Line’, a beautiful melody and an emotive lyric. The piano at the start leads nicely into the rest of the band joining in. The musicianship of Skerryvore is faultless and they really come into their own on the instrumentals, be it the slow air ‘Soraidh Slan’ dedicated to the memory of loved ones or the opening foot stomping ‘The Exorcists’.
‘Hold On’ shows the aforementioned Americana sound and a tune that will appeal to the US market. The same goes for ‘Borderline’, perfect for any country or folk playlist. The upbeat ‘Take My Hand’ has been released as a single, an album highlight that cleverly mixes traditional instruments with a catchy pop melody.
With Runrig finally calling it a day this summer Skerryvore are a worthy successor to keeping the Celtic folk rock flame alive. An album that will appeal to lovers of folk and energetic, melodic tunes – highly recommended. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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