The Big Spree
(Vertical, 2007)

Breabach certainly invites us on a big spree with this exciting release. It is hard for any band to recreate the energy of a live gig, but on first hearing it sounds as if this silver disc has the capacity to transport us to such a setting.

The group brings us a lively combination of instruments -- some very common in the folk and traditional canon, but others that are in many ways new yet old. The bagpipes are an instruments coming more to the fore in contemporary folk, and Breabach is one group that gives it a very solid performance.

Over the 11 tracks on offer here we get a good mix of instrumental and vocal works. All of the offerings are played with gusto and will entice many new ears to the genre if they take the time for even a casual listen. In particular, I enjoyed the rendition of the Matt McGinn song "Rolling Hills of the Borders" -- even the title has a poetic ring.

The instrumental track called "Under the Influence" features a lovely set that includes "Sheepskin & Beeswax" and "No More Cages" combining traditional and new compositions in a seamless set.

We will certainly be hearing a lot more from this breathtaking band.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

15 March 2008

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