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WOLFSTONE "The Half Tail" Green Linnet GLCD1172

In the "stadium rock meets village hall ceilidh" world that is a Wolfstone album the unholly alliance has always been carried off with panache, and where that was missing, sheer exuberance filled in. The results were albums full of energy which encouraged neighbour baiting loudness on your stereo. "The Half Tail" sees a departure from that route to a more subdued (although still loud) "progressive rock" sound. In a number of places this album reminded me of Jean Micheal Jarre records!!

That is not to say there aren't flashes of the "old" wolfstone. A storming rendition of the classic whaling song "Bonnie Ship The Diamond" which is cleverly spliced with "The last leviathon" provides the highlight of the CD. On the whole the songs are stronger than the instrumental sets. Ivan Drever stays on familier ground with his own song "Tall Ships", a tale of the demise of the shipbuilding, steel and mining industries. Ivan coauthored "Heart and Soul" with Duncan Chisholm and its catchy chorus should turn it into a favourite at the live gigs. Struan Eaglesham's "No Tie Ups", which first saw light of day on his underrated CD with Ivan "Back To Back", closes the CD and is given the full Wolfstone treatment. Of the instrumental sets only "clueless" comes close to capturing the full Wolfstone energy. The rest dissipate their energies over a wash of keyboard sounds. In summary fans will still find much to like on this CD, but it does appear that Wolfstone are mellowing with age. Perhaps the lure of the "Celtic Mystery" market is proving to strong?

Chris MacKenzie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 18 of The Living Tradition magazine.