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VARIOUS ARTISTS - "Indigenous Tribes" - Iona IRCD054

Fifteen tracks by some mighty outfits representing in the main, the young Turks of the Scottish scene, this is well worth a listen to, particularly as it is associated with the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

The line up includes the Humpff Family, Wolfstone, Tartan Amoebas, and Rock, Salt and Nails, the latter contribution being a particularly effective blending of the song "Forced to Return" interlaced with lashings of "Spootiskerry" all done in the best possible taste. Ian Bruce is in extremely fine voice with "Scarboro' Settlers Lament"; Fred Morrison does sterling service to a set of Irish reels; Boonshang keep it moving with two tunes which comprise "The Flogging Set" and the Pearlfishers, whom I'd never heard before (though there's a hint of the Waterboys adhering) are never less than interesting and I'd like to hear more (both the curse and the blessing of "sampler" albums).

Complaints? If the album was intended as a "Young Turks" approach to the indigenous tribes of the title, I wonder why no inclusion of the Peatbog Faeries, a mighty mob if ever there was; similarly Runt O' the Litter and Hamish Imlach seem incongruously placed and might've been better placed on a separate album.

I've saved the best for last and it's to be found in the opener "Alba" by Paul Mounsey which in its five minutes eleven seconds duration throws everything from what sounds like fragments of a waulking song with a multitude of other musics. This isn't tampering around the edges with barely heard peripheral influences garnishing a largely unchanged central core. This is someone in love with music, exploring all the possibilities, turning things inside out before reassembling the whole in a way that's much more than the sum of its parts. Having read the review of his latest album in the Living Tradition after hearing "Alba", it's off to the shops for me; "Alba's" brilliant and if the rest of the album is anywhere near its standard - what a discovery. "Indigenous Tribes?" - eight out of ten - a very good album.

Hector Christie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 25 of The Living Tradition magazine.