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Wolfstone "Almost An Island" Once Bitten Records OBRCD002

Wolfstone would rate highly on any scale if points were awarded purely for effort and industry. Sadly this isn't the case, and the group remain cult heroes for those who've been grabbed by this wolf's very potent bite. To their credit the band have identified exactly what it is that their legion of fans are looking for, and with great focus and skill appear to deliver the goods every time.

So how does "Almost An Island" rate alongside their considerable cannon of releases? Well all the usual trademarks are here. Chisholm's stylish fiddlework forms the basis upon which much of Wolfstone's reputation has been built, is always a treat. Although his input is perhaps a little more subdued this time than on previous CDs. Many of the strident fanfares have been left to Stephen Saint's piping skills, and he handles the challenge with great aplomb. With a keen eye for a good tune Wolfstone have searched, on the whole, for contemporary writers. Leo McCann's The Piper and the Shrew opens the album in fine style, this alongside notable writing credits for Gordon Duncan and Phil Cunningham show a healthy interest in their contemporaries.

Having stepped into the limelight as the group's front man a couple of years ago, after Ivan Drever's departure, Stuart Eaglesham has really come of age. Jericho is one of the strongest songs on "Almost an Island", co-written by Chisholm and Eaglesham it shows real songwriting quality, leaving the group on a firm footing for the future.

Keith Whitham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 49 of The Living Tradition magazine.