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DAMP IN THE ATTIC "I Was ... Flying' It" THORCD001

Here's a trio with a bit more experience than most new Irish groups. Box-player PJ King, fiddler Martin Murray and bouzouki-vocalist Cyril O'Donoghue each have a couple of previous albums but only got together quite recently. They're joined on this CD by bodhran buddy Colm Murphy for 57 minutes of excellent traditional music and song.

"I Was ... Flyin' It" says it all; rollicking reels, jaunty jigs, happy hornpipes, and the best barndances I've heard in a long time. The change from jigs to reels on the opening track is heart-stopping, and the Quebecois set is a classic.

The four songs slow the pace considerably. A creditable rendition of "The Massacre of Glencoe" is followed three tracks later by the romantic "Spoon River", then the bittersweet "Dublin's Flowery Vale" and finally the tragic "Lovely Willie". Cyril O'Donoghue's voice is melodious and pleasantly rough, and the accompaniment is very nicely done with some lovely touches on mandolin from Martin Murray.

The even spacing of tunes and songs leaves a pair of hornpipes and a set of reels to finish. The hornpipes are fine old-fashioned beasts which suit PJ's powerful button box style, and the reels are simply awesome: the teasing "Damp in the Attic" from PJ's pen, and the disputed "Moving Cloud" in D which gives it a bit more depth. I particularly liked the last six seconds.

This is excellent stuff: fine tunes, a wonderful tight sound, and plenty of spirit. The members of this band are impressive enough individually, but when they're put together the result is mighty indeed.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 34 of The Living Tradition magazine.