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COLIN REID "Swim Topic" TSCD541

This is the third album from this Belfast based acoustic guitarist and it sees him progressing from his second album Tilt, where he had several of his own compositions, and taking on a more challenging role as sole composer. Swim has twelve self-penned instrumental tracks of which half feature solo guitar with the rest being ensemble pieces including piano, Wurlitzer, double bass, cello, violin, and occasional light percussion.

Samson and Delilah, the opening track, is a fine solo guitar piece in the Bert Jansch mould and it immediately and effectively demonstrates the highly accomplished playing skills of this artist. However, after this stimulating beginning the initial promise isn't fulfilled, and, with a musical style in that difficult area between folk, jazz, and new classical, although it is melodic and listenable the CD tends overall towards blandness and self-indulgence. Cassandra, with a cello and violin accompaniment gripped the attention, and Monster was interesting, but otherwise the album never really seemed to kick off - the tracks just coming and going, running into each other.

Reid is a undeniably an extremely talented and technically brilliant guitarist, but ultimately the recording failed to engage me and drifted into becoming little more than background music. Sadly, Swim lacks bite, there is no pace, no attack, and with little to excite or stimulate it's probably best filed under easy-listening.

Mel Howley

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This album was reviewed in Issue 55 of The Living Tradition magazine.