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BATTLEFIELD BAND "Leaving Friday Harbour" - Temple Records COMD2080

This is an utterly predictable album. You know what you're going to hear, namely a few tune sets highlighting the instrumental dexterity of the lads, a few songs from Messrs Reid and Steele and an all-round gloss - called 'production' - which means that everything is done to perfection. Yes, as ever, the voice of experience delivers the goods as the band turns out another beautifully crafted album.

Davy Steele is in particularly fine voice on Last Trip Home, a song co-written with John McCusker; Alan Reid contributes a song reversing writing trends by being about immigration and not emigration and instrumentally there are standout tracks featuring Mike Katz's pipes. But the Batties' powerhouse is the writing and playing of John McCusker and he just seems to get better with each recording. There are several 'writers of tunes' on the go at the moment but John has that happy knack of writing memorable ones and there are plenty to choose from on this album.

Unlike their previous recording there's no added CD-Rom with this one so you can't watch them performing, but there are extra sample tracks. Besides, first-time listeners to the Band will want to see them on stage on the strength of this album alone. Yes, utterly and brilliantly predictable.

Alan McIntosh Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 35 of The Living Tradition magazine.