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FLING "Peeler and the Goat" Artswa CDFL02

This is the second CD from a young six-piece Western Australian band who were busy on the UK festival circuit this summer. Fling's publicity describes their music as "powerhouse Australo-Celtic". Intrigued? Appalled? Read on anyway.

Five of the thirteen tracks are sets of Irish tunes. Ormonde Waters (concertina, whistles and pipes) and Suzanne Harris (fiddle) have a genuine feel for the tradition. Their deft, feathery playing provides some fine moments, though the standard bass and drums folk rock backing do their subtleties no favours. The choice of material lacks adventure, though I'm sure the likes of "Stars of Munster", "Humours of Ballyloughlin" and "The Foxhunter's Reel" do the business in the marquees.

Turning reluctantly to the songs, there's a decent Van Morrison and a shocking rush through the Planxty version of "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy". The rest are written by band members David Johnson and Jonathan Cope. The sentiments are heartfelt, but the lyrics are trite, the appetite for I-you-we personal pronouns is insatiable (notably in the three songs about Relationships), the arrangements are poppy (though sometimes catchy) and the singing is bland.

To me, the mixture tastes of timidity and compromise, but maybe you had to have been there (I could have been, at Warwick Festival, but powerhouse Americo-Celtic band Solas got my vote instead). Maybe this CD has been snapped up in post-concert euphoria. I hope so. If not, I can only recommend to the band the likes of Lunasa, Cordelia's Dad and Shooglenifty - just three of the many young, ambitious bands who are taking a bolder path.

Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 29 of The Living Tradition magazine.