Croft No. Five,
Talk of the Future
(Planet Five, 2004)

There are a plethora of modern Celtic bands, as any visit to a Celtic festival will tell you. Nearly all are either traditional, Celtic rock or somewhere in between.

Croft No. Five is taking a different approach, as shown by the band's second CD. They have immersed themselves in electronica. They use synthesizers and drum programming, and pump up the bass to dance music levels.

They stick to their Scottish roots by including accordion and whistles as lead instruments on many of the eight tracks. In fact, Misha Somerville plays whistles on every cut but the last, where he switches to saxophone.

Some of the eight cuts have very little Scottish influence (the CD was recorded and mixed in Glasgow). "Elephant" uses a Middle Eastern melody (even though the CD sleeve says the song is about an African elephant). "80 Euro" emulates European cafe culture, with John Somerville's accordion adding a French touch. "Cyanara" is a lush, synth-based dance ballad.

Other tracks mix in Celtic elements. "Passing Train" has guest Jonathan Urquhart reciting a poem with a mild brogue. "Party in the Arc" mixes acoustic instruments with heavy electric guitar and synths for a sprightly dance tune. "Three Legged Fish" programs the whistles and the accordion backed by guitar, bass and drums.

Purists may not like the heavy use of electronica production techniques used here. But if you are suffering from Celtic burnout from too much of the same thing, this CD lives up to its talk of the future, with an appealing mix of dance rhythms without overbearing beats and upbeat Celtic playing.

review by
Dave Howell

10 November 2007

what's new