Back of the Moon,
(Footstompin', 2005)

This is a first-class, superbly musical third album from the excellent Scottish quartet Back of the Moon. Ali Hutton is a recent addition to the band, playing whistles, border pipes and bodhran. The other band members are Gillian Frame (fiddle/viola/voice), Findlay Napier (guitars/voice) and Hamish Napier (piano/flutes/voice).

Their sound is eclectic. Their rhythmic drive is immense on several of the instrumental tunes; they quite literally throw "Lumsden's Rant" and "Hawp!" at you, the latter song featuring superb bodhran playing as well. Keyboard and guitar conspire to convey a real sense of urgency, forming the tightest backdrop for fiddle, pipes and flutes. "Goodfellas" hurls a hugely satisfying blast of border pipes at the listener, and Rick Taylor's trombone lends a touch of sophisticated panache towards the end of the tune -- he features on several tracks on this album, and his contribution is very fine indeed.

The band excels vocally, too; Gillian and Findlay infuse the songs with their rich, commanding vocal presence. There's dark drama in murder ballad "Nine Stone Rig" and there's poignancy in "The Final Trawl," both songs featuring Gillian on lead vocals. Findlay inspires on songs like "The Mill Mill O." Guest musician Christine Hanson's cello adds warmth and depth on "Joey Beauty's" and elsewhere.

Luminosity strikes a near-perfect balance between vocals and instrumentals -- it's a satisfying and enjoyable album that demonstrates this band's commanding vocal and instrumental presence -- proving Back to the Moon is most definitely a band to go and support if they play a venue near you.

by Debbie Koritsas
15 April 2006

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