Link to Living Tradition Homepage





SHOOGLENIFTY - "A Whisky Kiss" - Greentrax CDTRAX106

It hadn't been a great day at work, meetings, and persistent rain most of the afternoon. Got home to find a familiar shaped package behind the door. Couldn't remember ordering anything and, anyway, my wife has placed a ban on buying CDs. Imagine my delight when the eagerly awaited new one from Shooglenifty emerged. Suddenly the sun shone, birds sang and everything seemed wonderful!!!

Shooglenifty are, without doubt the hottest band around. They took Sidmouth by storm last year, although the lunch time sit down concert was a bit strange. Already this year they were the hit at Gosport where they played some of the new stuff. Live they are loud, energetic and menacing. Angus, the fiddle player prowls around defying anyone to stand still, so much so that even I have been known to sway and shuffle a bit.

Their first album "Venus in Tweed" was highly acclaimed everywhere, rivalling the Bothy's as best debut album. This one is quite simply stunning. It was due out in time for the short English tour they made recently but, for some reason, it wasn't. It's here now and well worth the wait.

To avoid categorising, the band dream up their own labels like "acid croft" etc. They play the sort of tunes which at first sound vaguely familiar but you've been lulled into a false sense of security. A sound here, a strange sound there, a sequence played in an odd way all make you sit up and take notice. Most are led by fiddle, mandolin or the banjax, an instrument which has been created by Garry, its player. I'm not exactly sure what a banjax is but it looks like a banjo. What I do know is that it sounds good. Behind, and sometimes in front, is a driving bass and drums, with a touch of acoustic guitar thrown in for good measure, but no electronic keyboards to be seen.

It's pointless to go through the CD track by track, that's for you to do when you buy it. It's a very tight album sound, showing what good musicians they are. The music is based on the first album but has moved on a few steps. The tunes are mostly self-penned using a variety of rhythms and odd vocal effects creating something which is unique, a word too often used, but in this case meant.

In short this album is essential, it's innovative, and, along with the new Dick Gaughan, one of the most important to come out of Scotland this year. Even more importantly it's brilliant. I've played nothing else since I got it, and can't see that changing just yet. Buy it now because one thing is certain no-one is having mine.

A word or two about the cover to finish with. The standard is far higher than on many and who is behind the mask?

Dave Beeby

Secure On-line mailorder service Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 17 of The Living Tradition magazine.