(Flatfish Records, 1999)

Let me just start off by saying that I love the sound of a flute, and not just because I used to (and still occasionally) play one. Most people associate flute music with soft, peaceful sounds. They'd be quite surprised to hear Flook. But what a wonderful surprise!

Flatfish is the sophomore CD for the oddly-named band, which is composed of Sarah Allen on flutes, whistle and accordion, Ed Boyd on guitars, bouzouki and mandolin, Brian Finnegan on flutes, whistles and bansuri, and John Joe Kelly on bodhran. The flutes are their showcase sound and Allen and Finnegan do some amazing things with their instruments, including jazzy riffs and other flights of fancy.

The CD begins with the jubilant "Calico," a trio of tunes by Diarmuid Moynihan. This set firmly establishes the up-tempo and joyful tone of the entire CD. "Eb Reels" follows, keeping the energy level high. "The Gentle Giant" slows down a bit, beginning with accordion and guitar. Compared to the preceding two pieces, this one is downright introspective. "Sligo Reel" picks up the pace again. "Flatfish" slows it down for a breather -- for a few minutes. "Happy Jigs" is exactly what it sounds like, while Bruno slows down and allows the players (and listeners) to catch their breaths. "Waltzes" begins with a leisurely pace, but before you know it, they're just racing along. The final track, "Flutopia," is a set of mostly traditional tunes that finish the CD off with a flourish.

Much of the CD moves at a breakneck pace, showing just how talented the band really is. When the music does slow down, it's only for a few brief minutes before they're off and running again, as though they simply can't keep the tempo below light speed.

In the liner notes, the band says that they hope the listener has as much fun with this as they did. I certainly did!

[ by Laurie Thayer ]

[ visit the artist's website ]

Buy Flatfish from Amazon.com.